Alcohol and young people

You can be stopped, fined or arrested by police if you are under 18 and drinking alcohol in public.

If you are under 18, it is against the law: 

  • for someone to sell you alcohol 

  • to buy or try to buy alcohol 

  • for an adult to buy or try to buy alcohol for you  

  • to drink alcohol in licensed premises (such as a pub or restaurant)  

However, if you are 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, you can drink (but not buy) beer, wine or cider with a meal.
If you are 16 or under, you may be able to go to a pub (or premises primarily used to sell alcohol) if you are accompanied by an adult. However, this is not always the case. It can also depend on the specific conditions for that premises.
It is illegal to give alcohol to children under five.

Working in a restaurant or bar under 18

You can serve alcohol in a restaurant if you are 16 or 17 as long as the licence holder or bar manager has approved the sale.

You may be restricted to selling alcohol in sealed containers (such as cans or bottles) in some areas.

For further information: