Alcohol Laws

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simsfreq | 23:21 Mon 12th Sep 2005 | Food & Drink
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Could anbody tell me the law in Britain regarding alcohol? I know it's 18 to be able to buy it or drink it in public but in a private residence with parents permission what laws are there regarding this? Also some under 18s can drink a glass of wine with a meal in a restaurant but obviously there is an age limit fot this, what is it please?


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As far as I know the ages are : Age 5 to be given alchohol at home 14 to drink alcohol with a meal 16 to buy a non alcoholic drink at a bar and 18 to buy and drink alcohol.

god you make a lot of points in just 1 question.

One can  drink at any age at home as licensing laws do not mention it. However other laws under childrens act etc may forbid it such as poisioning, drunk in charge of a minor (if the carer) etc etc.

Can again drink at any age in public (unless licensed premises) unless local bye-laws forbade it.


You CAN NOT drink wine in a pub/restaurant until you are 18. The only booze a child from 14-18 can drink is PERRY, CIDER or PORT.  This must be bought by an 18+ person and only during the time food is served.


Any more specific questions I will happily answer for you.

redmug is almost spot on.

Over 5 at home, but it's 14 to be in a pub, and 16 to drink alcohol with a meal.
The 2003 Licensing Act now requires a 16 year old to be acccompanied by someone over 18 in order to drink alcohol with a meal. This wasn't necessary under the previous Act.

These are minimum ages by law, and on licensed premises, a Licensee is quite entitled to raise these limits (eg. No-one under 18 allowed at all)

And to clarify;

A 16 year old can consume "beer, wine or cider" with a meal (which must be seated and an area designated for the purpose.

The old Act stated "Beer, Cider, Porter or Perry" not Port. Port is defined as a fortified wine under the Act, and therefore is a no-no for a 16 year old with a meal. Ward-minter is thinking of porter which is a rather unfashionable drink these days, but is/was a beer somewhere between a mild and a stout.

I have answered this question before..

This should answer all all your Queries

That's out of date now, as it refers to the Licensing Act 1964 (As Amended).

This site (below) explains the 2003 Act, and is explicit about the 16 / 17 year old 'alcohol with a meal' question.

and theres also a link to the 2003 Act in its full glory.

And in all these cases, the Landlords (Licensee) permission must be given or his/her agents. 
14 yerar olds canhave a glass of wine with a meal iun  a reseraunt in scotland but not in england

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