Serving and selling alcohol - Best practices?


This can be a tricky but important topic. We’d love to know…

  • What is your knowledge around serving and/or selling alcohol during Peerspace bookings?
  • How comfortable are you with this topic as it relates to your specific space?
  • What questions would you love answers to?

If you’ve come across any specific resources that have helped you navigate this world, please share!

Question about alcohol

I wouldn’t serve alcohol. I think you’re opening yourself up to potential problems if anything happens or someone gets into a car accident and blames you. It’s just not worth it. If they bring their own, that’s different.


Only should be done if your establishment has a liquor/catering license like we do. I’m amazed by the amount of requests we get asking about bringing in their own alcohol and using our establishment to serve it. Not only is that illegal, there is so much risk and liability taken on by doing so. The idea that someone bringing in alcohol into your establishment and serving on their own, removes the liability of you and your venue, is totally wrong. Someone get’s hurt, or worse, due to alcohol served at your venue, everyones liable and at risk, even if you didn’t supply it or serve it.

When putting open bar alcohol packages together, they should always be priced per person, per hour. Offering open bar options, without an understanding of crowd size is a risk to your event and a nightmare for your barstaff.


I’ve only seen this brought up once recently (I could be missing other posts though), but what is everyone’s thoughts about guests bringing and serving their own alcohol during rentals?

I had never stopped to consider whether or not a liquor license is required, as the guests were bringing in their own booze, but now I begin to wonder and worry.

I’m in California and I know that the laws are different in every state, but I can’t seem to locate a clear enough answer via Google.


I don’t allow alcohol at my space, but if you host parties, I think it is wise to look up alcohol laws of your state


I have a “no alcohol” rule–but in a couple of cases I have made an exception when asked. Both cases were off-sites, when guests wanted to have a glass of wine at the end of their long day. I can’t imagine that that’s any different legally than me serving drinks to friends–but I’m not an attorney.


For special events I try to find middle ground by allowing alchaol but they have to hire 1 of 3 approved companies that carry a license and insurance. That way if they are looking to be responsible great if not then you probably don’t want them using your space.


From a liability standpoint we don’t allow alcohol unless it’s part of the shoot.


HI Deacon,

We do allow alcohol to be served as long as it is served by our caterers, who have a liquor license and we have their COI on file, where we are listed as an additional insured.

If you wanted, you could maybe require that guests that want to BYOB purchase a COI with host liquor liability, but I have found that still BYOB events are the messiest, worst events I work! Nobody truly knows how to bartend, and people get over-served. I believe that you do not need a liquor license/permit if you are not selling alcohol, only host liquor liability. However, I may be wrong on this so definitely take some time to research the laws, and make sure you are protected. Peerspace also has coverage for liquor, but I prefer to get my own in place in addition to that.

We do not allow BYOB. Even for smaller events that want to get wine donated or bring in their favorite beer, I still regulate that our caterers must serve the alcohol to adhere to safe liquor policies. Most people understand this and have no problem pitching in the money to hire our caterers. Plus, many hosts do not realize the complexity of bringing in your own bar (cups, ice, straws, cut lemons and limes, mixers, how to transport to and from) and appreciate the additional support.

Hope this helps!! Cheers!


That was an amazing answer, thank you Chrissy and I agree 100%!


It is at the liquor law that is the important piece. As you don’t require a liquor license to serve alcohol in your own home. It’s the liability afterwords when they leave your home. Or if they get too drunk if they damage things in your home.


This is what we send to all guests for Chicago, but as other Hosts noted, you definitely need to look up the laws in your areas. “The caterer will just need to provide us with their insurance and off-premise liquor license and do a site visit at least one month prior if they haven’t worked here before. The caterer is responsible for serving the alcohol (and having an Off-Premise Liquor License that matches the insurance provided) but you can provide them with the alcohol and nor just DRAM insurance.”


I’d stay away from serving alcohol. Way too much liability. Someone could slip, get in a fight, or kill someone in a DUI - and you’ll be sued.


For those in California:

Super helpful link to determine the legality of serving alcohol in your establishment. Then there is the question of “do you want to?” which, in my experience with multiple venue management positions, should never be left to the client or guests. We’ve always had rules about our hired staff pouring all alcohol; no self-serve and no outside bartenders that we don’t know. Alcohol makes people a bit sloppy sometimes; best to have the power to cut people off and control the flow in YOUR hands, not theirs.

All that said, if you can provide event bar services, you can make a pretty penny off of it if you’re efficient and run a well-oiled machine.