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Motel License

A motel license allows a motel to:

  • Sell liquor in locked honor bars in no more than one-half of its guest rooms, provided that:
    • Rooms are rented to guests, at a minimum, on a daily rental basis
    • Each honor bar also contains snack food
  • Provide beer and wine by the individual serving to overnight guests of the motel, without additional charge, for on-premises consumption at a specified regular date, time and place (such as a hospitality room). Patrons may not self-serve during these functions. (WAC 314-02075)


An “honor bar” is a cabinet, box, cooler, or refrigerator in a guest room that can be opened only with a key, combination, magnetic card or similar device. The following requirements apply to the use of an honor bar:

  • The licensee must require proof of age before providing a guest access to an honor bar. The guest must sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, verifying that:
    • The guest is 21 years of age or older.
    • No one under 21 years of age will have access to the liquor in the honor bar.
  • The honor bars must remain locked whenever the room is rented to a guest under twenty-one years of age.
  • All liquor stored on the licensed premises must be either locked in an honor bar or locked in a secured liquor storage room.
  • No person under twenty-one years of age may have access to the honor bars, liquor storage rooms, or keys, combinations, etc., to the locked honor bars or storage rooms.
  • An honor bar or storage room may only be replenished during those hours when liquor may legally be sold (not between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.), and only by employees who are 21 years of age or older. Beer and wine wholesalers may deliver, price and stock product only in storage rooms.
  • Liquor in honor bars may only be sold in individual containers in the following sizes:
    • Spirits not to exceed 50 milliliters; Beer not to exceed 12 ounces; and
    • Wine not to exceed 187 milliliters. (WAC 314-02-080)


A bed and breakfast permit allows a bed and breakfast lodging facility to serve beer or wine without charge to overnight guests, for consumption on the premises. (WAC 314-02-085)


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

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Categories: HERO