Can Minors Sit at Bars in Restaurants?

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by Lauren Beck

In the United States, the legal drinking age is 21, which means individuals under 21 are not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, in certain states, minors can drink alcohol if a parent or guardian gives it to them.

So, can minors sit at bars in restaurants? The answer to this question depends on the state where the restaurant is located. Some states permit minors to sit at the bar as long as they are not drinking alcohol, while others prohibit minors from being in the bar area entirely.

Is Being 21 Necessary to Sit at a Bar in a Restaurant?

In most states, there is no legal requirement to be 21 years old in order to sit at a bar in a restaurant. However, there are some important exceptions to this norm.

For example, in California, minors can only sit at the bar in a restaurant if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Additionally, certain restaurants may have their own policies regarding minors at the bar.

To avoid any potential issues, it is advisable to check with the specific restaurant you plan to visit and inquire about any age restrictions in place.

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Can Minors Enter Bars with a Parent?

The answer to this question varies depending on the state. Some states, like California, do not allow minors to enter bars at all, while others, like Colorado, allow minors to enter bars if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Is It Acceptable for Kids to Sit at the Bar?

While some restaurants allow children to sit at the bar, not all establishments follow this practice. To ensure a smooth experience, it is best to confirm with the restaurant you intend to visit whether they have any age restrictions in place.

Can a 20-Year-Old Visit a Bar Without Drinking?

In most states, the legal drinking age is 21, which means 20-year-olds can go to bars but cannot consume alcohol. If caught drinking, they may face fines or even arrest.

Can I Buy My 17-Year-Old a Drink at a Pub?

happy young men having a beer together

No, it is against the law to buy your 17-year-old a drink at a pub in the United States. Providing alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal and can result in fines or imprisonment. In some states, bartenders can also face legal consequences if they serve alcohol to minors. Therefore, it is not worth taking the risk.

Although there are exceptions, such as certain states allowing minors to drink alcohol when accompanied by a parent or guardian or for religious purposes, in most cases, providing alcohol to minors is prohibited by law.

Can an 18-Year-Old Go to a Bar in Texas?

Yes, an 18-year-old can go to a bar in Texas. While the legal drinking age in Texas is 21, there are exceptions. Minors can enter bars if accompanied by a parent or guardian, and they can consume alcohol for religious purposes. So, if you’re 18 and eager to visit a bar in Texas, you should be able to find one that welcomes you.

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Understanding the ABC Law in California

The ABC law in California[^1^], also known as the “21 and over” law, prohibits minors from being in bars. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agency, a state organization responsible for regulating the sale and distribution of alcohol, enforces this law. Its objective is to prevent minors from frequenting bars and clubs where alcohol is served, as well as from purchasing alcohol themselves.

Can Minors Purchase Non-Alcoholic Beer?

Absolutely! Minors can legally buy non-alcoholic beer since it is not considered an alcoholic beverage. Therefore, regardless of age, anyone can purchase and consume non-alcoholic beer without any issues.


In the United States, it is illegal to provide alcohol to individuals under the age of 21, with only a few exceptions. While 18-year-olds are allowed to enter bars in Texas, they cannot consume alcohol unless it is for religious purposes. However, minors can purchase and enjoy non-alcoholic beer.

[^1^]: ABC Law in California