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Who is considered a minor?

Pennsylvania law specifically defines a minor as a "person under the age of 21 years."  [1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1991]

May a minor be sold non-alcoholic beer?

No. Although it is not a violation of the Liquor Code it is a violation of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. Section 6310.7 states "A person commits a summary offense if he intentionally and knowingly sell or furnishes nonalcoholic beverages to any person under 21 years of age".  As used in this section, the term "non-alcoholic beverage" means any beverage intended to be marketed or sold as a non-alcoholic beer, having some alcohol content but not more than .5% alcohol by volume.

How can a minor legally frequent a licensed premises? Who can they be with?


The general rule in Pennsylvania is that no one younger than age twenty-one may be present in an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.  However, there are five exceptions to the general rule:

  1. Minors with parents (“Parent exception”). If a minor is with one or both of the minor’s parents, then the minor is permitted to be on the premises.  The minor and parent(s) can sit anywhere on the premises, including the bar area, and alcoholic beverages can be served to the parent(s) or to any other adult with the minor.

  2. Minors with legal guardians (“Guardian exception”). If a minor is with a legal guardian, then the minor is permitted to be on the premises.  The minor and the legal guardian can sit anywhere on the premises, including the bar area, and alcoholic beverages can be served to the guardian or to any other adult with the minor.
  3. Minors under proper supervision (“Proper supervision exception”). If a minor is under proper supervision, then the minor is permitted to be on the premises.  Section 102 of the Liquor Code defines proper supervision as someone who is at least twenty-five years of age, who is directly responsible for the care and conduct of the minor while on the premises, and who keeps the minor within his or her sight or hearing.  Proper supervisors are generally unpaid volunteers.  However, licensees or their employees are allowed to act as proper supervisors as long as they are not performing any other employment-related duties at the same time.  [47 P.S. § 1-102]. If a minor is in the premises under proper supervision, the minor can sit anywhere on the premises, including the bar area, and alcoholic beverages can be served to any adults with the minor. Proper supervisors can only supervise a limited number of minors.  In Philadelphia, that number is five.  In the rest of Pennsylvania, the number is twenty, i.e., one proper supervisor can supervise up to twenty minors.  Notwithstanding the above limitations, if the minors are on the premises as part of a school-endorsed function, each proper supervisor can supervise up to fifty minors.Regardless of relationship, someone who is eighteen years old may be properly supervised by anyone who is twenty-five or older, as long as that person is directly responsible for the care and conduct of the minor while on the premises, and keeps the minor within his or her sight or hearing.

  4. Minors attending a social gathering (“Social gathering exception”). If a minor is attending a social gathering, then the minor is permitted to be on the premises.  A social gathering is an event marketed to or catering to minors, in whole or in part, for which at least forty-eight hours advance notice has been given to the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (“Bureau”).  No alcohol can be served to anyone, even adults, at a social gathering and all alcohol must be removed from or secured by lock and key at the licensed premises.

  5. Minors at food-oriented establishments (“Pizza Hut exception”). If a restaurant, hotel, or retail dispenser licensed premises has gross sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages equal to fifty percent (50%) or more of its combined gross sales of both food and alcoholic beverages, then minors are permitted on the premises.  The presence of a parent, legal guardian, or proper supervisor is not necessary. Minors present under the Pizza Hut exception are not permitted to sit at the bar section of the premises.  Further, no alcoholic beverages can be served to any adult at the table or booth where the minor is seated (unless the minor is also there with a parent, legal guardian, or proper supervisor), without risk of citation by the Bureau for having minors frequent the premises.  Note this exception does not apply to clubs. Pennsylvania law specifically defines a minor as a “person under the age of 21 years.”  [1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1991].  Minors are not permitted on licensed premises unless they fall under one (1) of the above-listed exceptions.  Be advised that it does not matter if a minor is age eighteen or age twenty; the same rules apply.  It should also be noted that an establishment is permitted to make house rules that place additional limits as to when minors are allowed on the premises.

Are minors permitted to sit at the bar with their parents?

Yes, unless the licensee has a house policy preventing this to occur.

What time does a minor have to leave the licensed establishment?

At the time their supervision leaves, unless the licensee has a stricter house policy saying the minors have to leave at a certain time.