Are Mobile Bars Legal in Texas?

No. You are not permitted to have a mobile bar in Texas. Liquor license laws in Texas from The Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), require you to have a brick and mortar store in order to serve drinks. This means that food trucks are also not allowed to sell alcohol. A Retail Dealer’s License is required by the TABC in order to sell alcohol. This license is not given to food truck owners for a couple of reasons. One reason is that you cannot serve alcohol if you do not have adequate seating for customers which most food trucks do not have. A lot of food trucks operate out of parking lots, the side of the road or other areas where seating may only be a couple of picnic tables. You would also need to have two toilets installed that hook into the city’s water supply. If you do end up being able to meet all of those requirements, you can apply for a license but there is no guarantee you’d ever be approved and you’d have to spend thousands of dollars just to go through the process.

Can I Give Away Free Alcohol in Texas?

According to the TABC, yes, you can give free alcohol away. However, there are some stipulations. The biggest thing is to determine that the drink is truly free. This means the free drink must be available to any adult that walks in the door and requests one. It cannot be “for paying customers only.” You cannot ask for tips or donations in order to give the “free” drink, because that is still a situation of something being exchanged for the alcoholic beverage. If you want to give free drinks to your paying customers you need a permit.

Two examples of “free” drinks from the TABC website are:

  • A wedding reception with free drinks.
  • A boutique that serves free wine while you shop, even if you don’t buy anything.

Three examples of “not free” drinks from the TABC website are:

  • A nail salon with a “free” drink when you pay for a manicure. 
  • If you buy tickets to a charity ball and they serve “free” drinks.
  • If a tip jar sits next to a keg of beer expecting “donations”.

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