Spirits, Beer and Wine

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Licensees must place identifiable barriers around areas that are restricted from persons under 21 years of age. These barriers must be at least 42 inches high, and the opening to these barriers may not be more than 10 feet along any wall. (WAC 314-02-025(3))


Following is a summary of food service requirements for spirits, beer and wine restaurants.

(1) A spirits, beer, and wine restaurant licensee must serve at least eight complete meals. The board may make an exception to the eight complete meal requirement on a case-by-case basis. Establishments shall be maintained in a substantial manner as a place for preparing, cooking and serving of complete meals. For purposes of this title:

  • “Complete meal” means an entree and at least one side dish.
  • “Entree” means the main course of a meal. Some examples of entrees are fish, steak, chicken, pork, pasta, pizza, hamburgers, seafood salad, Cobb salad, chef’s salad, sandwiches, and breakfast items (as long as they include a side dish). Entrees do not include snack items, or menu items which consist solely of precooked frozen food that is reheated, or consist solely of carry-out items obtained from another business.
  • Examples of side dishes are soups, vegetables, salads, potatoes, French fries, rice, fruit, and bread.

(2) The restaurant must maintain the kitchen equipment necessary to prepare the complete meals required under this section.

(3) The complete meals must be prepared on the restaurant premises.

(4) A chef or cook must be on duty while complete meals are offered.

(5) A menu must be available to customers.

(6) The food items required to maintain the menu must be on the restaurant premises. These items must be edible.

(7) Restaurants that have one hundred percent dedicated dining area must maintain complete meal service any time liquor is available for sale, service, or consumption.

(8) Restaurants with less than one hundred percent dedicated dining area must maintain complete meal service for a minimum of five hours a day during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., five days a week. The board may consider written requests for exceptions to this requirement due to demonstrated hardship, under such terms and conditions as the board determines are in the best interests of the public.

Limited food service, such as appetizers, sandwiches, salads, soups, pizza, hamburgers, or fry orders, must be available outside of these hours. Snacks such as peanuts, popcorn, and chips do not qualify as limited food service.

(9) The hours of complete meal service must be conspicuously posted on the premises or listed on the menu. A statement that limited food service is available outside of those hours must also be posted or listed on the menu. (WAC 314-02-035)



  • Persons under 21 are prohibited from working as a bartender in the lounge. Certain employees 18 through 20 years of age may enter the lounge under limited conditions. (WAC 314-11-040)
  • Spirituous liquor may only be sold by the individual glass to be consumed on the licensee’s premises. Sale by the individual glass means drinks in containers intended to hold an individual portion. Sale of Martinis, Manhattans, Margaritas and other cocktails served in pitchers, large glasses or bowls from which two or more persons consume is prohibited. (WAC 314-02-015)
  • Hotels which have prior Board approval may sell liquor by the bottle to registered hotel guests for consumption in their rooms. (WAC 314-02-040)
  • A spirits, beer and wine restaurant may allow the customer to bring their own wine into the restaurant for consumption with a meal. The restaurant may charge a corkage fee. (WAC 31411-065)
  • Wine may be removed from a spirits, beer, and wine restaurant if it was ordered with a meal and if it is re-corked or recapped. (Once recapped, you may want to remind your customers that it must be placed in the trunk of their vehicle.) It is illegal to have it in the passenger portion of the vehicle. Spirits, beer and wine restaurants may also sell any of their wines, growlers to go and kegs holding at least four gallons for off-premise consumption so long as the proper endorsement is obtained from the Board. (RCW 66.24.400(2), (WAC 314-11-065)

Rev. 1/29/14


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