Arkansas does seem a little odd when it comes to alcohol laws. It's one of only 12 states that don't allow Sunday alcohol sales, though some counties do allow this. It's also one of the few states where you can find a wet city in the middle of a dry county or a dry city in the middle of a wet county. As a matter of fact, people from some other states don't even know what a dry county is (you can't buy alcohol in a dry county). Here are a few interesting liquor laws. You can also check Arkansas DUI/DWI laws.
Though these laws are accurate today, laws change often. The laws below are just a cursory glance at Arkansas alcohol laws and shouldn't be taken as legal advice.
Where to Buy
Arkansas has 75 counties, and about half are dry. Dry is a county where alcohol is not sold. Alcohol laws can get pretty confusing in Arkansas because any local jurisdiction can decide to be dry, whether the county is wet or not. However, local jurisdictions cannot elect to go wet in a dry county. That means some cities or townships are "dry" in wet counties. Occasionally, in counties with two county seats, one district may be wet and the other dry, such as Sebastian and Logan Counties.
Dry counties (county seat) include Ashley (Hamburg), Bradley (Warren), Clay (Corning/Piggott), Cleburne (Heber Springs), Craighead (Jonesboro/Lake City), Columbia (Magnolia), Crawford (Van Buren), Faulkner (Conway), Fulton (Salem), Grant (Sheridan), Hempstead (Hope), Hot Spring (Malvern), Howard (Nashville), Independence (Batesville), Izard (Melbourne), Johnson (Clarksville), Lafayette (Lewisville), Lawrence (Walnut Ridge/Powhatan), Lincoln (Star City), Little River (Ashdown), Southern Logan (Booneville), Lonoke (Lonoke), Madison (Huntsville), Montgomery (Mt. Ida), Newton (Jasper), Perry (Perryville), Pike (Murfreesboro), Polk (Mena), Pope (Russellville), Randolph (Pocahontas), Saline (Benton), Scott (Waldron), Searcy (Marshall), Southern Sebastian (Greenwood), Sevier (De Queen), Stone (Mountain View), Van Buren (Clinton), White (Searcy), and Yell (Dardanelle/Danville).
When to Buy
- Alcohol is not sold on Sundays in Arkansas. Restaurants can serve alcohol on Sundays in most cases, and some microbreweries are allowed to sell growlers. As with other states, exceptions apply and you can purchase it on Sundays in Benton, Washington, Carroll, Boone, Marion, Baxter, and Franklin counties.
- Alcohol is not sold on Christmas Day in Arkansas
- Arkansas has a tiered alcohol licensing system. Class A licenses allow alcohol service from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Class B licenses allow alcohol service from 10 a.m. until 5 a.m. A restaurant license allows alcohol service until 1 a.m.
- You must be 21 to drink in Arkansas or work at a bar.
- You must be 19 to serve at a restaurant with an alcohol license.
- You must be 18 to handle alcohol at a grocery store.
Minors and Alcohol
- The sale, giving away, or other disposition of intoxicating liquor to a minor is declared to be a misdemeanor.
- For unknowingly furnishing a minor with alcohol, the first offense imposes a fine of $200-500. The second offense imposes mandatory jail time of no less than 1 year and a $500-1000 fine.
- If you knowingly furnish a minor with alcohol, it is a misdemeanor offense with 10 days jail time and a $500 fine. The second offense is a felony, with 1 to 5 years in jail and a $500 fine.
- Minors caught in possession of alcohol will be fined $100-500 and have to write a theme or essay on alcohol.
- A person commits the offense of public intoxication if he appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree and under circumstances such that he is likely to endanger himself or other persons or property, or that he unreasonably annoys persons in his vicinity.
- A person commits the offense of drinking in public if that person consumes any alcoholic beverages in any public place, on any highway or street, or upon any passenger coach, or in or upon any vehicle commonly used for the transportation of passengers, or other public places other than a place of business licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.
- Public intoxication is considered a class C misdemeanor with jail time of no more than 30 days and a $100 fine.
- In Arkansas, open containers are allowed in a vehicle, but the driver and passengers are not allowed to drink.