Beer and Wine License:
Q: What is a restaurant license?
- A restaurant license is sometimes called a “beer & wine” license.
- It authorizes the sale of beer and wine ONLY with meals in a full-service restaurant. (A full-service restaurant must serve full meals, not just fast foods, and must have a kitchen and wait staff to deliver meals and alcoholic beverages to the tables.)
- No hard liquor, such as whiskey, tequila, scotch, rum, vodka, etc., can be sold under this license.
Q: What are the requirements for the issuance of a Restaurant license?
- The applicant must have a valid and current food service permit.
- The applicant must demonstrate that the primary source of revenue for the restaurant will be from meals and not from beer and wine.
- As a condition of renewal, the licensee must provide proof that at least 60% of the total gross receipts are from the sale of food.
- The applicant must submit a menu showing that the restaurant serves full meals and not just fast foods as defined in the Liquor Control Act.
Q: May a Restaurant Liquor License be sold, transferred or leased?
- No. A Restaurant Liquor License cannot be sold, transferred or leased from one individual to another, from one business to another or from one location to another.
- If the ownership or location of the business changes, a new license must be obtained.
General License/Operation Questions
Q: May minors be employed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages?
Persons 19 and 20 years of age may only work in a restaurant environment and cannot be bartenders or cocktail servers. Only persons over 21 years of age may sell or serve alcohol in package stores, bars or lounges. A restaurant is an establishment whose primary activity is the sale of food and not the sale or consumption of alcohol.
Q: Is gambling permitted on a licensed premise?
No. Gambling is not permitted except as authorized under the Gaming Control Act – lottery tickets - and the Bingo & Raffle Act – certain non-profit clubs have pull-tabs and gaming machines that may only be played by members of the club.
Q: May a licensee allow pool playing or other games on the licensed premise?
- Yes. Games of skill such as pool and bowling are permitted.
- Participants CANNOT be charged an entry fee and cash prizes or other prizes of value may not be awarded.
- Spectators or participants may not gamble or bet on the outcome.
Q: What are the legal hours of operation during which alcohol can be sold, served or consumed on a licensed premise?
Weekdays & Saturdays:
- For a Restaurant Liquor License (beer & wine), the hours of operations are from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm or until meal service ceases – whichever is earlier – from Monday through Saturday.
- For all other license types, it’s from 7:00 am until midnight for package liquor sales and from 7:00 am until 2:00 am for on-premise consumption.
- For a Restaurant Liquor License, it’s noon until 11:00 pm or until meal service ceases - whichever is earlier - on Sundays in a local option district that has voted to allow Sunday Sales by the drink.
- For all other license types, legal hours of operation are from noon to midnight for both package liquor sales and on-premise consumption in local option districts that have voted to allow Sunday Sales.
- Licensees wishing to sell, serve or permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages on Sundays must have applied for and received the appropriate permit from the Alcohol and Gaming Division.
Christmas Day Sales:
Holders of dispensers, restaurant, club and governmental licenses that have a current, valid food establishment permit may sell, serve or allow the consumption of alcohol by the drink on the licensed premise from noon until 10:00 pm or until meal service ceases - whichever is earlier for Restaurant Liquor Licenses. When Christmas falls on a Sunday, sales are only permitted in those local option districts that have voted to allow Sunday Sales.
Q: What are acceptable forms of identification?
- Any current and valid ID card issued by a federal, state or municipal government that contains a picture of the person and a birth date showing that they are over 21 years of age.
- Some examples are a driver’s license, non-driver ID, military ID, or a passport.
Q: May a licensee or a server serve alcoholic beverages to a person who is intoxicated?
No. It is a violation of the Liquor Control Act to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to a person who is obviously intoxicated if the server knew or should have known that the person was intoxicated.
Q: How old must a person be to buy, possess or consume alcoholic beverages in New Mexico?
A person must be at least 21 years of age to buy, possess or consume alcoholic beverages. It is illegal for anyone to sell, give or procure alcohol to or for minors.