Can 16 and 17 year olds drink at the pub ?


Under the Licensing Act 2003 young people who are sixteen or seventeen years old (we used to call these people “youths” !) can consume alcoholic drinks on licensed premises such as a pub, bar or restaurant.

However, there are four very specific limits  to allow this  :

Drawing a Draught Beer for a 16 year old to drink

These four limits are:

1. The alcoholic drinks must be consumed whilst eating a “table meal”.  A bar snack, a packet of crisps or some sandwiches do not constitute a table meal !  So
really they’ll have to be sitting down to a knife-and-fork type of event.

2. The alcoholic drinks can be wine, beer or cider. No spirits are allowed. Spirits are drinks such as whisky, gin, vodka, Alcopops and rum. Fortified wines are also not allowed (so no sherry with grandma !) . Fortified wines are wines that have had spirit added to increase their alcohol content. Some examples of fortified wines are sherry, port, vermouth and Pimms. Even if these fortified wines are diluted with non alcoholic drinks such as lemonade, water or ginger beer they are not allowed to be consumed by sixteen and seventeen year olds on licensed premises at all.

3. An adult must accompany the sixteen or seventeen year olds whilst the drinks are consumed with the table meal. This means that an adult must sit at the table with the young people.  ( An adult is someone who is at least 18 years old)

4. The alcoholic drinks must be purchased by an adult. Under no circumstances are sixteen or seventeen year olds buy alcohol, weather they are with an adult or not as this would be illegal and both the seller and buyer could be in big trouble.

There is no upper maximum to the number of alcoholic drinks sixteen or seventeen years can consume with the table meal. However, it is an offence under the Licensing Act 2003 to supply alcohol to anyone who shows signs of intoxication.

The general purpose of these rules is to allow youngsters to enjoy alcohol responsibly and do so in the company of older (and hopefully wiser !) people.

To know more: Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) 1 day course.

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