- On September 15, 2022
- > TABC Certification, TABC Laws
A private club is an association for people who come together for a common purpose. The laws allow such clubs to serve alcohol to members, even in a ‘dry’ area, if they obtain a private club permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).
Many clubs receive their private club registration permit to operate in the areas of Texas that don’t allow all or some types of alcohol sales. Below, you can learn all about what the TABC defines as a private club and what you must do to abide by your permit requirements.
What Is a Private Club?
The Private Club Act was brought into law in 1961 to bypass laws that prohibited the purchasing of alcohol. Before the act was brought in, bars, taverns, and lounges were described as open saloons and couldn’t operate under the Texas State Constitution and Liquor Control Act.
Many associations now operate as private clubs, such as:
- Country clubs
- Lodges (e.g., Freemasons, Elks, Eagles)
- Golf clubs
- Social clubs
- Veterans’ organizations
How these clubs work is quite straightforward. Members join the club for a common reason, such as social, charitable, or religious. Each member can invite up to three guests to enjoy the club with them, as long as the guests stay with the member and don’t purchase drinks from the club on their own.
Clubs can also have locker systems that let members store their own alcohol for consumption in the club, and some clubs may allow non-members to enjoy temporary membership.
Once an establishment gains its private club registration permit, it can:
- Purchase wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverages from specific businesses with BC, BB, SD, P, and LP permits and licenses
- Serve the beverages they purchased to members and guests
- Provide food service to members and guests
- Serve members alcohol to go with food service if they’re defined as a restaurant.
As there can be so many strict laws surrounding operating as a private club in Texas, many club owners see the value in ensuring their employees have TABC certification. This certification gives owners, managers, and employees the knowledge and skills required to avoid common alcohol service violations while keeping club members safe.
Fortunately, the TABC approves seller-server training programs sponsored by private businesses and provides certificates to people who successfully complete the programs. There can be many benefits associated with receiving TABC certification, such as being a responsible member of the community, more knowledgeable employees, and potentially lower insurance rates.
Safe Harbor Protection with TABC Certification
According to the TABC, if you obtain your TABC certification, you might be afforded some protection with Safe Harbor if you violate your permit requirements. This means you might be exempt from administrative actions like penalties and suspension if employees involved in the sale, service, and delivery of alcohol complete an approved seller-server training program.
They must also meet other criteria, like the employer not encouraging the employee to break the law and the person committing the violation not being the permit holder.
When Can Private Clubs Serve Alcohol?
When a private club obtains its private club registration permit, it can only serve alcohol during particular times of the day and night. They can serve alcohol from 7am until midnight from Monday to Friday, and from 7am on Saturday through to 1am Sunday, and then again from 10am Sunday until noon with food service, or until midnight.
Clubs can then remain open until 2am and might need to apply for a Late Hours Certificate from the TABC if they wish to open later.
Get Your TABC Certification Today
If you want to ensure your private club operates like a well-oiled machine within the confines of the law, consider TABC certification from TABC Pronto. Enroll now in our fast, affordable, and 100% online courses can ensure you and your employees have the knowledge and skills necessary to take care of your club and its members.