Liquor Laboratory

What Time Do They Stop Selling Alcohol in California? 2024

What Time Do They Stop Selling Alcohol in California

A few months ago, we were in California for a short vacation with friends, and while we were enjoying the picturesque landscapes, we thought of elevating our time with some drinks.

But what time do they stop selling alcohol in California?

Like other states, California regulates alcohol sales, and as tourists, we must abide by the local laws to avoid being penalized or disruptions while enjoying our vacation.

So, if you’re also visiting CA soon, this post is for you. Keep reading!

When Do Liquor Stores Stop Selling Liquor In California?

Bottle of Roku Gin

California liquor stores stop selling alcoholic beverages between 2:00 am to 6:00 am, according to the California Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates California’s liquor laws.

According to the Alcohol Beverage Control Act, a grocery or liquor store must stop selling liquor from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.

In California, stores stop dispensing alcohol at 2:00 am. This rule applies from Monday to Saturday; on Sundays, alcohol sales are permitted from 6:00 am to 2:00 am the following day.

It’s a misdemeanor offense to sell liquor, give, or deliver alcohol between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, the same as purchasing alcohol within these prohibited hours.

These local regulations, enforced by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, ensure responsible alcoholic sales.

But take note – the sale of alcohol varies by city ordinance. Depending on the business model, there can be different sales hours: convenience stores, bars, and restaurants, with certain cities having strict laws.

California’s Hours of Sale

B & P Code 25632. Consumption

To sell alcohol, give, or purchase alcohol between 2:00 am and 6:00 am is a misdemeanor for licensees, employees, or customers.

Time change occurs from Pacific standard time to Pacific daylight saving time or vice versa, so “2:00 am” signifies two hours past midnight before such change.

On-Sale Licensee Informational Guide

The On-Sale Licensee Informational Guide provides the necessary information to ensure compliance with alcohol sale regulations.

B & P Code 25633. Hours for Delivery

Businesses stop selling alcohol (i.e., manufacturer, distilled spirits manufacturing agent, winegrower, wholesale, or rectifier) to on-sale retailers or off-premise license holders on Sundays, except from 3 am to 8 pm on other days [1].

“After testing the waters last year, we find there is strong consumer demand for greater flexibility in the sale of take-out cocktails.” – Bill Dodd, Member of the California State Senate

But alcohol can be delivered at the manufacturing plant anytime. This California state law doesn’t bar transportation between licensed premises.

B & P Code 25631. Retail Hours of Sale

Pouring Alcohol on a Shot Glass

Under this California law, liquor sales can’t be conducted between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, which means most establishments, like convenience stores, can sell or operate the same sales hours as indicated on Code 25633.

If you sell or buy liquor during off-sale hours, you can be subjected to a fine, detainment (in the county jail), or license suspension (for a DUI conviction), depending on the severity of your offense.

Related Posts:

Understanding California Alcohol Laws 

General Hours Of Sale

As per the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, the window for the sale of alcohol in California typically ranges from 6:00 am to 2:00 am the following day. Buying alcohol and off-premise alcohol sales are open.

Last Call

California’s alcohol laws require bars and restaurants to adhere to a “last call” announcement from around 1:30 am to 1:45 am. Until such time, you can serve alcohol, buy beer, or buy alcoholic beverages.

Selling Alcohol During Daylight Savings Time

When Daylight Savings Time kicks in, an extra hour is added. However, the cutoff for buying alcohol remains at 2:00 am local standard time, ensuring consistency.

Alcohol Delivery

Deliveries and alcohol sold within the regular sale hours, 6:00 am to 2:00 am, is lawful. In short, you can consume alcohol or buy alcohol within these hours.

Read: When Do They Stop Selling Liquor In North Carolina?

Sundays Sales

Unlike some states, California alcohol laws don’t have specific regulations regarding alcohol sales on Sundays. However, alcohol sales still adhere to the general 6:00 am to 2:00 am timeframe.

Is There A Penalty For Selling Alcoholic Beverages Outside Of Hours Of Sale?

Pouring Alcohol on a Glass

Yes, there can be a penalty for violating California alcohol laws [2]. You can be subjected to fines, penalties, suspension or revocation of business licenses (i.e., wine license), and even detainment.

“Understanding when the drinks must pause is not just about clocks, but about respecting laws that ensure both enjoyment and responsibility.” – Liquor Laboratory

So we suggest knowing and understanding the alcohol laws to avoid violations. But how much is a liquor license in California?

FAQs Related to What Time Do They Stop Selling Alcohol in California?

Does California sell alcohol 24 hours a day?

No, California doesn’t sell alcohol 24 hours a day. You can only buy alcohol, generally, from 6:00 am to 2:00 am on the same day.

What time does 7/11 sell alcohol in California?

7/11 stores sell alcoholic beverages in CA following the state’s alcohol sale regulations, meaning alcohol sales stop at 2:00 am.

What time do grocery stores stop selling alcoholic drinks in California?

Grocery stores stop dispensing alcohol in CA at 2:00 am. For example, establishments can’t sell beer, and customers can’t purchase beer, wine, and other liquor types. Even off-premise sales are prohibited.

Are alcohol sales hours the same across all of California?

While 2:00 AM is the standard cutoff time for alcohol sales in California, local jurisdictions may have different regulations, so it’s essential to check specific rules for the area you’re in.

Are there any exceptions to alcohol sales hours in California?

Some cities or counties in California may have ordinances that impose earlier cutoff times for alcohol sales, particularly in densely populated or residential areas. Additionally, there are restrictions on sales during certain holidays and events.

Can I purchase alcohol at any time during the day in California?

While California permits alcohol sales until 2:00 AM, stores and establishments typically cannot sell alcohol before 6:00 AM, per state law.

Do bars and restaurants have different alcohol sales hours than retail stores?

Yes, bars and restaurants in California may have different hours for alcohol service compared to retail stores. Many bars and restaurants may have licenses allowing them to serve alcohol later into the night.

Can I continue consuming alcohol after 2:00 AM in California?

No, establishments are generally required to stop serving alcohol by 2:00 AM, and patrons must cease consuming alcohol by that time as well.

On A Final Note

Understanding when alcohol sales cease in California is more than just a matter of convenience or knowing its alcohol industry. It’s about adhering to the state’s laws and ensuring responsible consumption.

Whether you’re enjoying a night out or winding down at home, knowing the regulations adds to a safer and more enjoyable experience.

So, next time you’re planning your visit, always remember – you can freely buy alcohol (like beer, wine, and spirits) in CA from 6:00 am (the day preceding) to 2:00 am (the following day).

But sale hours may vary by city or country, so we suggest checking with the local authorities.


  1. California Code Business and Professions Code – BPC
  2. Penalty Policy Guidelines
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