Dry Counties in Oklahoma

Betty Boop's Nightclub
••• This nightclub in dry Ellis County is fittingly named for a prohibition-era icon. By Ammodramus (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Liquor laws in Oklahoma are consistently applied throughout the state in regard to things such as liquor store rules and regulations, age restrictions on purchasing, open container laws and driving under the influence limits.  But when it comes to liquor by the drink sales in restaurants and bars, since 1984, the laws are decided by the state's individual counties.  Therefore, Oklahoma has many so-called "wet counties" and some "dry counties." 

Note: The descriptions below are intended only as a guide. For full and detailed explanations of applicable laws, contact the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission of Oklahoma.

What Is a Dry County in Oklahoma?

Well, technically there are no true "dry counties" in the state of Oklahoma.  A truly dry county means that the sale of alcoholic beverages is completely forbidden by law in that county.  This can't be the case in Oklahoma since state law allows residents to buy low-point beer (between 0.5% and 3.2% alcohol by weight) in restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores, and they can purchase liquor or strong beer at liquor stores.

So for Oklahoma, the term "dry county" is often used to designate those in which liquor cannot be served by the drink in restaurants and bars.  In addition, there are some counties in which liquor by the drink is allowed throughout the week but not on Sundays.  Below is a list of specific county regulations.

Are Most Counties in Oklahoma “Wet”?

Yes. Of the 77 Oklahoma counties, 56 allow liquor by the drink either every day of the week or every day except Sundays.  All counties around Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the state's largest metropolitan areas, allow liquor by the drink sales.  The closest to either metro to not allow the practice is Okfuskee, which is east of Oklahoma City and includes towns such as Okemah, Clearview, and Waleetka near or along Interstate 40.

Only 20 counties still restrict liquor by the drink, many in western and southwestern Oklahoma without large population centers, and this is a number that continues to shrink. For example, many counties, including Choctaw, Johnston, Rogers, and Tillman, have voted in recent years to move from dry to wet due in part to the economic advantages. 

Which Oklahoma Counties Are Still Dry Counties?

The 20 Oklahoma counties to currently forbid liquor by the drink sales in restaurants and bars are:

  • Adair
  • Alfalfa
  • Beaver
  • Caddo
  • Cimarron
  • Coal
  • Cotton
  • Dewey
  • Ellis
  • Harmon
  • Harper
  • Haskell
  • Hughes
  • Jefferson
  • Latimer
  • Major
  • Okfuskee
  • Pushmataha
  • Roger Mills
  • Washita

Which Counties Restrict Liquor by the Drink on Sundays?

There are 15 counties with restrictions on Sunday liquor sales in the state of Oklahoma:

  • Atoka
  • Beckham
  • Cherokee
  • Craig
  • Jackson
  • Kay
  • Kingfisher
  • Mayes
  • Noble
  • Pittsburg
  • Seminole
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Woods
  • Woodward

Which Counties Restrict Liquor by the Drink on Sundays?

Yes, the following counties also forbid liquor by the drink sales on Christmas day:

  • Beckham
  • Carter
  • Cherokee
  • Craig
  • Custer
  • Delaware
  • Garfield
  • Grady
  • Grant
  • Jackson
  • Kay
  • Kingfisher
  • Latimer
  • Logan
  • Marshall
  • Mayes
  • Noble
  • Payne
  • Pittsburg
  • Seminole
  • Stephens
  • Texas
  • Woods
  • Woodward