New York City is a hub for tourism from all over the world. Whether you’re visiting or live there you will want to know when you can buy a beer. What do beer laws look like in New York and across the state?
In New York you can buy beer, wine, and liquor every day. Beer can be purchased from most retailers 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday and Sunday outside of the hours of 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. Restaurants may serve alcohol between 8 a.m. and 4 a.m throughout the week, or 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Sunday. Both beer delivery and growlers are legal.
Keep reading for an in-depth exploration of New York’s beer laws from where you can get a beer to important regulations.
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Is New York a dry state?
A dry state is one that has legal restrictions on the sale of alcohol. New York has no restrictions as a state and is not considered dry. There aren’t any dry states in the United States.
New York is not a dry state. Unlike many other states, it also does not give counties the power to declare themselves dry. However, individual towns and cities may do so.
The restrictions of a dry area do not always outlaw all alcohol sales. Usually, there are times and places where it is legal.
Does New York have any dry counties?
Most states allow their counties to vote to become dry even though the state is not. This is not true with the state of New York. Individual towns and cities are the only ones given this power.
Though there are no dry counties, New York has 7 dry towns:
- Caneadea, Allegany County
- Clymer, Chautauqua County
- Lapeer, Cortland County
- Orwell, Oswego County
- Fremont, Steuben County
- Jasper, Steuben County
- Berkshire, Tioga County
There are also many towns that are partially dry. These towns limit alcohol sales to specific types and times. This could include outlawing sales for on-premise consumption but leaving off-premise consumption legal.
When can you buy beer in New York?
Although New York is not a dry state, there are some restrictions on when you can buy beer.
In New York, you can buy beer for off-premise consumption 24 hours a day except for Sunday. On Sunday you can’t buy beer between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. All alcohol sales for on-premise consumption are allowed from 8 a.m. until 4 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday sale hours are from 10 a.m. until 4 a.m.
Liquor and wine sales for off-premise consumption have different hours than beer sales. In New York, you can buy liquor and wine between 8 a.m. and midnight Monday through Saturday. Sunday sales are allowed between noon and 9 p.m.
However, these sale hours can be different throughout the state. The above is the statewide limits. New York counties can set earlier closing hours for both on and off-premise consumption sales.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in New York?
There are no laws that prohibit Sunday beer sales in New York.
New York allows retailers to sell beer for off-premise consumption at any time except between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Sunday. Bars can sell beer for on-premise consumption at any time except between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.
As mentioned above, this is not the case in every county or town in New York. In the dry towns listed above, there are no Sunday sales – or any sales for that matter. Other counties might limit the hours further.
When do bars close in New York?
Since bars are on-premise retailers, they are limited by the on-premise sale hours.
Bars in New York may close as late as 4 a.m. any day of the week. Some counties outside of New York City move the last call earlier. This can range from midnight to 3 a.m.
It is also possible that a bar closes early by choice or if it is connected to a restaurant.
Where can you buy beer in New York?
Since there are several different regulations, where can you get a beer in New York?
There are plenty of places you can buy beer in New York, including:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these locations has its own rules such as the type of alcohol they sell and when. I will go over each one in detail below.
Bars and restaurants
New York bars and restaurants can sell beer from 8 a.m. until 4 a.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday they are prohibited from selling alcohol between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. They can sell beer on draft, in bottles, or in cans. Bars may sell growlers for off-premise use.
New York also allows restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages with to-go orders as long as it accompanies food.
Gas stations in New York can sell beer 24 hours a day except for Sunday. On Sunday they are not permitted to sell beer between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. All beer must be in the original packaging and cannot be consumed on the premises.
Gas stations are limited to beer and low ABV wines.
Grocery stores in New York can sell beer 24 hours a day every day of the week except for Sunday. They can’t sell beer between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Sunday. Beer must be sold in the original packaging. All sales are for off-premise consumption.
Like gas stations, grocery stores are limited to beer and low ABV wine.
Package and liquor stores
New York liquor stores can sell beer 24 hours if that is all they sell. If they sell liquor and wine as well, hours will be limited by those laws. Liquor stores can sell alcohol between 8 a.m. and midnight Monday through Saturday. Sunday sales are allowed between noon and 9 p.m.
Since most liquor stores sell a variety of beer, wine, and liquor they are limited to the second set of hours.
Breweries and taprooms
Breweries can sell their beer in a taproom from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday they can do so from 10 a.m. until 4 a.m. The beer can be sold for both on and off-premise consumption. They may fill growlers for patrons.
While taprooms can be open during these times, they are often open much less. Taprooms can sell their own beer and other New York beers.
Can you get beer delivered in New York?
In addition to alcohol deliveries in the form of to-go orders, you can get beer delivered on its own in New York.
New York puts a few restrictions on alcohol deliveries:
- Delivered alcohol may not be resold by the customer.
- Deliveries must be performed by the licensee or their employees.
- The hard maximum of beer delivered is 5 gallons at one time.
- All deliveries must be to the address of the customer.
What is the minimum drinking age in New York?
Although there are exceptions, the minimum drinking age is the same across the entire United States.
You must be at least 21 years old to drink in New York.
Many states require bartenders and servers to ask for a valid ID unless the patron appears to be above a certain age. The New York State Liquor Authority recommends that servers ask for ID every time.
Can minors drink beer in New York with parents?
There are a few exceptions where an underage individual may be allowed to drink alcohol in some states.
In New York, underage individuals can drink if given permission by their parents or guardians. Another exception includes educational purposes as part of a state-licensed curriculum.
It is still illegal for those under 21 to attempt to buy or possess alcohol in all circumstances. The above exceptions only allow those under 21 to drink provided alcohol.
Drinking laws in New York
The laws surrounding alcohol in New York aren’t any more complicated or strict than those in other states. In fact, some are much looser than those in other states. This is primarily to accommodate New York City.
The laws controlling when you can buy alcohol are relaxed in New York, but the ones that affect safety are not. Laws covering legal limits and driving with alcohol are close to other states in strictness.
Additionally, outside of New York City, alcohol laws are more strict.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in New York?
A great practice for breweries large and small is selling and refilling jugs (often called growlers) of beer for customers. Unfortunately, this practice is not legal everywhere. Can you get a growler of your favorite craft beer in New York?
You can buy growlers in New York. You are not limited to the common 32- or 64-oz sizes either. You can buy and fill growlers at many breweries and bars.
Some breweries might not fill growlers, but most do.
The legality of growlers aside, there are some restrictions covering driving with unsealed containers of alcohol.
In New York, neither the driver nor passengers of a vehicle may possess an open container. This extends to consuming alcohol. The only exception is the passengers of a hired passenger vehicle such as a limo or ride-share.
All opened containers must be in the trunk of the vehicle. Locked gloveboxes are also permitted.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol in New York.
What is considered under the influence is different based on the age of the driver. The penalties associated with a DUI conviction also differ based on several factors.
Under 21 years old
It does not matter if the individual under 21 drank legally under the exceptions detailed above, drinking and driving is always illegal.
A person under the age of 21 is considered under the influence in New York if their BAC is above 0.02%. Their first conviction can come with the following penalties:
- Suspended license for 6 months
- A $100 fee to end suspension early
- $125 fine
Additional penalties may be added if the driver refuses a chemical test. Subsequent DWI charges come with greater penalties.
21 years and older
Though drinking is legal after 21, drinking and driving is still quite illegal. The difference is the legal limit.
A person at least 21 years old is considered under the influence in New York if their BAC is above 0.08%. The first conviction can come with the following penalties:
- Suspended license for at least 6 months
- Jail time up to a year
- $500-1000 fine
Further penalties depend on whether the driver refuses a chemical test. Subsequent convictions will come with heavier penalties. A driver can also be convicted of driving with their ability impaired by alcohol even if their BAC is above 0.05% and less than 0.07%.