Does Your event need any licensing, and if so, what?

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Knowing your ABC’s

Planning a party can be a bit of a headache, and it becomes more of a headache if you don’t know the local laws. Depending on the event and the venue, you might require an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) event permit that allows for the sale or distribution of alcohol. Below are just a few simple points you have to cross to decide if you need one.

  • Does your venue require it?

  • No matter what kind of event it may be, sometimes your venue may require you to pull an ABC permit anyway. It’s their way of limiting liability.

  • Make sure to clarify if they are asking for an ABC LIQUOR LICENSE; not a bartender certification, bartender license, or just an insurance certificate. Those are completely different things. And Mr. Bartender has all of them :)

  • Will you be selling alcohol?

  • Selling alcohol can come in many forms.

    • Selling each drink individually to each guest

    • Selling drink tickets to be exchanged for alcoholic drinks at the bar.

    • Selling tickets or wrist bands to an event with an open bar, at or prior to the event.

  • Is your event open to the public?

  • Generally, small private events for your friends and family don’t need an ABC permit, but a public event comes with more complications and licensing details. If you’ve answered YES to the questions below, you’re event is not considered open to the public.

    • Is it on private property, like a house or special event venue?

    • Is there an official RSVP list?

  • Is your event large?

  • This one is a bit subjective, so it really depends on the other questions to solidify if you need an ABC permit or not. If you’re throwing a small house party or a private wedding of 200-400 people, you should be fine. However, if your event is large enough to require its own security, you most likely need to pull an ABC permit. Larger events come with larger liability, and it’s just better to have your bases covered.


If you’ve answered YES to all of the questions above, then you’ll need an ABC permit pulled. To get a quote for a party like that, just click on this ABC Quote Form.


If you’ve answered NO to all of the questions above, then you most likely don’t need a permit pulled. To get a quote for a party like that, just click on this Quote Form.