Instances When Bar Establishments Lose Their Drinking License In California

Instances When Bar Establishments Lose Their Drinking License In California

For someone who’s already spent years in the bar industry in California, you probably realize that maintaining a California alcohol license will be as important as running a business itself.

Yes, rules can be quite complicated to follow, and there will be hours of operation restrictions, patron conduct requirements, staff training necessities, and more – but it’s important for any bar owner or manager.

For years, many bars have already lost their California alcohol license because of many reasons. Some were even caught serving alcohol during unauthorized times, and others even failed with disorderly conduct while some witnessed issues related directly to their patrons’ behavior.

That’s why this article aims to explore each of these instances in detail and provide insights into how to prevent such mishaps in their establishments.

So let’s understand when and why some bars in California lost their drinking licenses.

Cases When a Bar Losses Its License

To raise awareness for bar owners, here’s what you need to understand about cases when a bar losses its license.

Disorderly Conduct

You’d be surprised at how fast a bar can lose its California alcohol license due to improper conduct. It’s not just about serving drinks, but it’s also about maintaining peace too.

The definition of ‘disorderly house’ as per the law includes bars and establishments where patrons engage in fights, disturbances, or other forms of misconduct. If this behavior occurs consistently at any specific establishment due to a lack of control by the management, ABC has every right to suspend or even revoke its California alcohol license.

The severity of punishment for violations highly depends on each case’s factors, such as the frequency and gravity of the offenses.

In most cases, bars could get off with a warning if an isolated incident happens. However, repeated violations could also lead to suspension or revocation of licenses.

So if you are a bar owner in California, you should learn how important it is to serve quality drinks and maintain a peaceful environment for your patrons at all times.


In California, it’s no longer uncommon for watering holes to have their permits revoked because of overserving patrons. You must know that a risky business practice usually has disastrous consequences.

This is a stern reminder that violating the state liquor laws could easily spell disaster for any establishment serving alcohol in California.

Issues with Patron Conduct

Bouncing rowdy customers might seem like a typical Friday night scene for you, but it’s not all fun and games when patron conduct becomes an issue. In California, issues with patrons can easily lead to a bar losing its liquor license.

This doesn’t just refer to any fights or altercations; it’s about the behavior that violates the alcohol laws of the state.

There are instances when a customer is openly consuming drugs on the premises or repeatedly causing disturbances that require law enforcement intervention, and the establishment could be held responsible for this.

Failure to properly manage patron behavior has resulted in many bars in California losing their liquor licenses. That’s why bar owners should always be cautious, as they could risk losing their ability to serve drinks altogether.

Selling During Unauthorized Time

While an after-hours drink may seem harmless fun, selling alcohol during unauthorized times may land any business in hot water.

In California, bars are only permitted to sell alcohol between 6 am and 2 am every day of the week under state law. If the establishment operates outside these hours or fails to adhere strictly to these regulations, they risk severe penalties, including hefty fines and even suspension or revocation of their drinking license.

Bar owners should know about this, as they have an alcohol-serving license. The severity of the punishment often relies on whether it’s a first-time offense or if previous violations have been recorded against them.

Every single instance will be treated seriously by the authorities, for it violates not only the state law but also risks the public’s safety by potentially encouraging disorderly conduct among patrons who’ve had one too many drinks.

Drinking in Unlicensed Areas

While it is common to see folks enjoying a cold one in parks or on beaches, it’s also important to remember that not all public areas are licensed to consume alcohol.

In California, establishments are only allowed to serve alcohol in their specific areas. If authorities discover an establishment serving alcoholic beverages outside their designated premises, the business may be suspended or even revoked California’s alcohol license.

This rule isn’t just limited to the physical boundaries of a property either. It also applies to different levels within an establishment, if not all have been approved for alcohol service.

Smaller infractions, such as allowing customers to take their drinks outside onto the sidewalk or street, can cause serious trouble. Therefore, bars must be extremely diligent about where to serve alcohol because breaking these rules isn’t worth losing their drinking license.

Alcohol Service Staff are Untrained

You might not realize it, but if your bartender or server hasn’t been properly trained in alcohol service, you could be in a sticky situation.

In California, the state law stipulates that all persons who serve or sell alcoholic beverages must complete a Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training program accredited by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

This requirement is in place to ensure that alcohol servers are well-versed with the laws and regulations surrounding alcohol consumption and sale.

Failure of the establishment to adequately train staff may result in penalties, including fines and even revocation of their liquor license.

Moreover, establishments could also face lawsuits for negligence if their untrained staff serves alcohol to someone who later causes injury or death due to drunk driving.

Not only does this damage the business’s reputation, but it also puts it under financial strain from legal fees and potential settlements apart from losing its drinking license.

Therefore, proper training is important to maintain a bar’s drinking license and ensure responsible beverage service that protects both businesses and consumers.


Bar establishments in California could lose their drinking licenses for many reasons. From disorderly conduct to overserving and issues with patron behavior, there are numerous pitfalls to avoid. Therefore, restaurant or bar owners were advised to diligently comply with all regulations, for it’s crucial for businesses.

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