3 drink minimum at a club?

When I was getting my bartener’s license, I remember being told that even 6 pack, missing one can, could be considered an open container, but I’ve never looked up the relevant law myself.
I’m rarely in a situation where it would be an issue, but I do occasionally have customers ask me to open and reclose a bottle of wine because they’re not able to do it on their own (no corkscrew, not strong enough). I’ll happily do it, but I always make sure to explain to them, in no uncertain terms, that this is now an ‘open container’ and they need to put it in their trunk on the drive home.

Meanwhile, I never did get my aunt to understand that even though she only had a few sips of anything alcoholic and even though she would never drink in a car, if she gets pulled over with a half empty bottle of Kahlua in the cup holder, she’s probably going to get arrested.

Yeah, but it was always a TWO drink minimum. And they could be overpriced soft drinks if you wanted.

Nope. Well, generally not.

I was at a club with two drink minimum, but they gave me my club soda free as i was the designated driver. But they said you have to have two people paying to get one free. (or maybe it was three people paying??)

I have never encountered this anywhere except comedy clubs (where its v typical)

That said my average rate of going out to a nightclub is charitably once a decade or so YMMV :slight_smile:

Vegas shows.

There’s a concert venue near me that, at least back in the day, would give out free tickets with a two drink minimum for some shows. Presumably the ones that didn’t/wouldn’t otherwise sell out.
There used to be, and maybe still is, stacks of free tickets at the local record stores.

The restaurant I used to work at sold “entertainment water” when a live band was there that was priced the same as a soft drink, to discourage cheapskates.

Agreed. May as well keep it at 2 and charge more for each.

I would buy that!

If I’m remembering correctly, when a friend and I used to go to Vegas together we had a favorite lounge singer and there was a two drink per set minimum. Neither of us drank, so as soon as we would sit down the server would show up and we’d order cokes. The server would bring us each a single drink, we’d pay for them (and tip appropriately), and at some point the server would come back to the table with another two cokes, collect the money and tip. It got to the point where the servers knew us and would just bring us our cokes without us having to actually order them.

It’s not true, at least not in Wisconsin. For it to be an open container the actual seal from the container has to have been broken. If a missing can from a six pack were an open container stores would not be able to legally sell single cans of beer which many do. I was a compliance investigator in the vice sector during my first LEO career and I know these laws frontward and back. But you’d be surprised at how people will insist I’m wrong.

The statute is 346.935(1).

Wisconsins liquor laws are going to make some huge changes in the future. I’ve been in close contact with my state rep and senator about it. Hopefully the changes are good and reasonable and they don’t make things worse.

They made the law in CA that a partial bottle of wine with a cork didn’t count as an open container to discourage people from finishing up the bottle so as not to waste it.

I looked at the California vehicle code and it does not say this. What it says is that it can be transported in the trunk but it’s still an “open container”. Most states have this law.

CA Vehicle Code 23222(a)

CA Vehicle Code 23222 (a) – Open Containers.

Thanks for the correction. I was wrong. I’m not sure where I got that idea. I’ve never cared for alcohol so it would never apply to me anyway.

You can store open liquor in your trunk in California:

  • Vehicle Code 23225 VC – allows for storage of open containers in a trunk or locked compartment away from drivers and passengers. - SOURCE

I think the interesting question is, does an open bottle of wine but put in a sealed bag by the restaurant count as sealed? Regardless, putting it in your trunk seems the best thing to do with it.

As I said, the way it was explained to me is - if you have an SUV (no trunk) then the open liquor better be as far from the driver as possible “inaccessible”, out of reach - i.e. the far corner of the vehicle cargo area, preferabbly covered. For other vehicles, in the trunk not the passenger compartment. A pickup with a slider rear window, or my BMW with a drop-down in the middle of the back seat for putting skis through seem like interesting loopholes.

(Classic Canadian case from decades ago - car is parked, driver is drinking. Policeman comes to the passenger side, tells the passenger to pass him the bottle the driver is drinking. The passenger does as he is told, and the officer charges him also with open liquor in a car. Case is tossed because the passenger was not seen handling the bottle until the police actually ordered him to.)

“Open Liquor” (again, as explained to me by numerous people who should know, including lawyers, liquor store workers and police) means the container it was sold in, at the store, has been opened. If it was sold as a single can or bottle, then it’s legal unless opened. If it is sold as a 4-pack or 6-pack or more, then one missing from the rings or box means “opened”. (Or as the police checked when they pulled me over, even if the cardboard 12-pack box had been torn open and nothing taken out, they could issue a ticket). I’m not clear on what a totally empty container status is - after all, most people take beer empties back to the store for a refund (at least in Canada).

I don’t know if some states have laws against the store breaking up, say, a 24-case and selling individual cans.

However, other than the restaurant loophole for taking the partial wine bottle home, AFAIK most places that serve liquor do not allow (are not allowed) to let the patrons take the drinks off premises.

I’m not going to say that you weren’t told this - but I am going to say first, police officers often exaggerate or outright lie * and second, that “container” probably has a specific definition under the law that almost certainly excludes six pack rings, cardboard boxes and plastic crates. ** Because it doesn’t make sense that I could be ticketed for having five cans in a six pack ring or 10 cans in a cardboard box that originally held 12 - but I can avoid the ticket just by getting rid of the ring or the cardboard box and having all of the cans loose.

* I’m sure the police told you that they could issue a ticket if the case had been torn open and nothing removed, but that doesn’t mean it was true. Doesn’t mean they could give you a ticket even if a can/bottle was removed - maybe they just would have given you a field sobriety test if it was missing cans.

** According to this an open container is defined as “Any alcohol where the seal has been broken. It is illegal to possess alcohol in an open container if you are in a private vehicle or a private boat.” And a six pack ring or cardboard box is not normally defined as a “seal”.

Boat? That will come as a surprise to pretty much all people with a boat I have ever known (and almost all I have observed). The driver must be sober but passengers could drink. I have been on a boat where the DNR pulled up and did a life jacket count and asked who was driving and if he had been drinking (he hadn’t). They said “have fun” and left. Maybe they were just being nice.

This is the question I am really interested in. Most states (except two it seems) allow wine to be taken home. Regulations vary but many mandate that the bottle be corked and then placed in a sealed bag. So, is that “sealed” liquor?

As mentioned, best to put it in the trunk. Also, I read somewhere looking things up for my earlier post that for SUVs and station wagons that are open the whole way back that the very back, behind the last row of seats, is legally “the trunk” for this purpose. The main thing seemed to be “out of reach as much as possible” (not a direct quote but out-of-reach seemed to be said in a few places I looked). I don’t feel like finding the cite again and, of course, this may vary by state (I think the one I looked at was California).

I haven’t checked the law, because it’s not something that comes up often enough for me to do that, but I’m pretty sure my state allows you to carry open containers in the trunk, inaccessible to the driver.

I will say, the time that i was stopped for not having renewed my car’s registration, i was carrying several open bottles of hard liquor in the back of my SUV, because I’d been helping a friend clean out the house he was selling, and his mover wouldn’t take alcohol (even in sealed bottles.) I was extremely glad that they were buried under a lot of gardening equipment and bags of plants I’d stuff out of his garden. The officer didn’t ask to search the mess in the back of my car, and i think i could make a good case that the bottles were inaccessible. But that’s just not a conversation i wanted to have.


It has to be the original seal from when the bottle/can/keg/etc was originally filled.

Related to this is why taverns and restaurants have to destroy empty liquor bottles (in most states) upon them being emptied. Treating you to that irritaiting “crash” sound while you are trying to enjoy your food or drink. It prevents the establishment from refilling a bottle with a cheaper brand and passing it off as a more premium brand. A scheme known as “aging the liquor”.