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Maryland Bartending Laws and Alcohol Regulations

Are you looking to learn more about Maryland bartending laws and alcohol regulations?


Being a bartender in the state of Maryland demands a knowledge and awareness of the legislative laws and regulations pertaining to the serving of alcohol within its borders.


Laws For Being a Bartender

To become a bartender in Maryland, you must meet certain qualifications and attain training to be certified.

Laws pertaining to Maryland bartenders include:

  • Minimum Serving Age: In this state, you must be at least 21 years of age to serve alcohol. To work as a busboy or barback you need only be 16, but there is no handling of alcohol allowed in these positions.
  • Requred Training: Every bartender in Maryland must undergo an alcohol awareness training program prior to being hired and serving alcoholic beverages to customers.
  • Certification Renewal: In order to continue work as a bartender, an alcohol awareness training program must be completed every four years.

Some counties require supervisors within alcohol serving establishments to also complete training on alcohol awareness and to be present for the duration of all shifts when alcohol is being served.


These counties include Montgomery County, Howard County, Kent County, and Washington County.

Laws Concerning the Sale and Consumption of Alcohol

Maryland has put many bartending laws in place concerning when, where, and how alcohol is to be sold and consumed within the state.


Some of the more important laws include:

  • Minimum Drinking Age: Checking an accepted form of photo identification to confirm that drinking patrons are at least 21 years of age before serving them alcohol is required. As a bartender, you must refuse service to anyone who is unable to confirm that they meet the minimum age requirement.
  • Blood Alcohol Content Limit: For Maryland, .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) is considered legally intoxicated. Testing at or above this amount behind the wheel will result in a DUI. In order to avoid this unpleasant outcome, a responsible bartender will cut off a patron who shows signs of being overly inebriated.
  • Legal Sale of Alcohol: Hours for alcohol sale may vary locally, however the state wide bartending laws that Maryland has established only allow for alcohol sale to customers between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.

You may also want to be aware of several other Maryland state laws.


For example:

  • Some areas of Baltimore County and Garrett County prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sunday.
  • Montgomery County, Somerset County, Wicomico County, and Worcester County are alcoholic beverage control counties.
  • The bartending laws Maryland enforces allows each jurisdiction to limit the sale of alcoholic beverages on Election Day and other holidays on an individual basis. 

Laws Specifically for Minors

The sale of alcohol to minors is an offense taken very seriously in Maryland. The establishment as well as the bartender is responsible for upholding the law and protecting minors from alcohol.


These laws offer clarity concerning exposure of alcohol to minors:

  • Minors in the Establishment: Minors are generally allowed to be in alcohol serving establishments, however local jurisdictions may have additional measurements in place as they deem fit.

  • Minors Accompanied by Parents: Parents and legal gaurdians are absolutey NOT allowed to give alcohol to their kids. Looking out for and preventing the consumption of alcohol by minors is always the role of a bartender in Maryland.

Violation of these laws result in costly consequences:

  • 1st Offense: A fine of up to $500 is issued to the establishment for the first offense. 

  • Multiple Offenses: A fine up to $1000 is issued for each subsequent offense.

Knowlingly allowing minors to consume alcohol is a quick way to lose your position as a bartender.

Learn More About Bartending Laws at the Maryland Bartending Academy

Maryland Bartending Academy was founded in 1980 and stands as the oldest bartending school in the state of Maryland. We have been producing polished bartenderds from Columbia, Catonsville Baltimore, Laruale, Glen Burnie, Silver Spring, and all over the state for thirty years!

Our Alcohol Awareness training class is recognized by the Comptroller of Maryland (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau). The training we offer on Maryland bartending laws has been approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission in addition to the Workforce Investment Act.


As an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, we have received an A+ rating. We also are professionally affiliated with the Professional Bartending Advisory Board.


Instruction offered through our class includes:

  • ID Checking Procedures 

  • Facts About Alcohol 

  • Cut-Off Techniques 

  • Responsible Business Practices 

  • State Laws and Regulations

All graduates from our program also receive "State Certification".  

Here is what one of our graduates has to say:


"Now that I'm working as a bartender in one of the most respected luxury hotels in Maryland, I cannot begin to express how valuable the training I received in the Alcohol Awareness training class at the Maryland Bartending Academy has been. Because of the training I received in that class, I am able to do my job responsibly and to the best of my ability, which has helped me earn the respect and admiration not only of my boss, but of my co-workers as well. Thank you Maryland Bartending Academy for taking the extra step to offer this class to all of your students!"

Lisa Shempke, Silver Spring, MD


Contact the Maryland Bartending Academy TODAY!

We're happy to answer any of your questions about our bartending program.


Getting in touch with us is easy, just call (410) 787-0020 or contact us electronically by using our quick online contact form to get in touch with one of our representatives.

You'll know that you've made a good decision once you have visited the Maryland Bartending Academy, taken our courses, and been introduced to our Job Placement Assistance Program.



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