If your event is to occur in the next several weeks, we suggest you purchase your banquet permit NOW. All banquet permits have to be purchased online after May 31 and there have been problems with the new system. If you get your permit now, it leaves plenty of time to run down to the liquor store in the next 7 days if the online processing doesn't work.
We're now a just week away from the Thursday, May 31 close of the last of the Washington State Liquor Stores and the start of private liquor sales on Friday, June 1st. All sales of Washington State banquet permits will now be made online...and there appear to be some problems. Apparently, the credit card processing is proving difficult for some types of cards and there is an alert on the website....which directs you to the state run liquor store. To avoid problems, don't wait 'til the last minute.
While the state is out of the liquor selling business, it is NOT out of the permit business and you still need a Banquet Permit to serve liquor at a private event held in a public place. State Liquor Control Officers can visit events, so remember to sign and post a copy of the banquet permit at your event where the alcohol is served.
Here are the regulations about banquet permits from the Washington State Liquor Control Board website – and do read all the way to the bottom.
What is a banquet permit?
A banquet permit is a permit you apply for that allows the service and consumption of liquor at a private, invitation-only banquet or gathering held in a public place or business. Examples include weddings, company banquets, retirement parties, and club, organization or church events.
Ordering your banquet permit online
Please order your banquet permit online.
What does the permit cost?
Banquet permits cost $10 per day for your event, so, a three day events costs $30. Note that you will need an email address and a credit or debit card to complete this transaction. If you do not find the email with attachment in your inbox, please check your “junk” or “spam” folders before contacting LCB Licensing Customer Service Desk for support.
Important information about banquet permits
- All banquet permit sales are final
- No refunds will be issued
- Banquet permits are available to for-profit businesses, societies, organizations, and individuals
- Retail liquor licensees may not obtain banquet permits
- Attendance must be by invitation only
- The event may not be open or advertised to the public
- Liquor must be free of charge, or brought by individuals attending the event. No separate or additional charge may be made for liquor, and donations cannot be accepted
- The event cannot be for business promotions
- Liquor must be purchased from a retail store at full retail price
- Package deals are allowed that may include, for example, the cost of dinner, liquor and entertainment. To ensure participants receive an equal share, tickets exchangeable for drinks may be issued as part of the package price. No profit may be made from the packaged deals
- Rental facilities or halls may require a banquet permit
- You must obtain any required permits from your local authorities when you host an event in a public place
- A banquet permit is not required when all of the following apply:
- The event is hosted by an individual, not an organization or business entity
- Guests are not charged for admission or anything provided at the function (e.g. ice, setup, food, hors d’oeuvres, etc.).
- "Charge" includes donations, dues, fees, or otherwise
- The event would normally be held in the individual’s private home, but is so large that a separate facility is needed to accommodate it
- The facility where the event is held is closed to the general public during the event and does not have a liquor license
- There is no business purpose for the event or any financial gain
What does the Liquor Control Board do with my banquet permit?
When you purchase your banquet permit online, an email copy of it is sent to your local liquor enforcement office. Officers can visit gatherings, so it is important that you sign and post a copy of your permit at the location where you will be serving the alcohol at your event.
Photo by Amazing Ice Sculptures