Where and when to buy beer in Texas

If you're in the mood to go out and grab a cold one in Texas, you'd better check your watch – and your calendar – before you head out the door, or else you might be in for a bitter disappointment. The sale of alcohol is tightly regulated in the Lone Star State, and if you get to the store too late, you're out of luck. Here's what you need to know about where and when to get a cold brew in Texas.

Buying beer on a weekday

Whether you plan to get beer at an on-premise location such as a bar or restaurant, or at an off-premise location like a grocery or convenience store, the general statewide laws for alcohol sales on weekdays are the same. Beer is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to midnight.

Many bars, however, are able to obtain an additional late hours permit. This allows them to continue selling alcohol until 2 a.m. on any day of the week. The ability of an establishment to obtain this permit depends on whether or not it is located in a city, town or county where the late-hours sale of alcohol is legal.

Buying beer on the weekend

This is where it gets tricky. Sale of beer at both on-premise and off-premise locations is permitted on Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. the following morning, except at bars and restaurants with the aforementioned late hours permit that allows them to continue serving alcohol until 2 a.m.

On Sunday, grocery and convenience stores may only sell beer from noon until midnight. Bars and restaurants follow the same schedule, but they may also sell alcohol starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday only if it is sold in conjunction with food. Beer can also be sold starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday at fairs, festivals, concerts and sports venues.

Liquor store hours

Liquor stores in Texas only sell liquor, not beer or wine, at the time of this writing, and they follow different hours than establishments that sell beer. Liquor stores are allowed to sell alcohol Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. They are closed on Sunday, as well as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Other laws to keep in mind

The legal drinking age in Texas is 21. Laws that pertain to when and where beer and other alcohol may be purchased are generally observed statewide, but many counties, cities and towns have additional restrictions. Always check local laws in the area where you plan to buy beer. A handful of counties in Texas are entirely dry, and several other counties permit the sale of beer and wine, but not liquor. Many more counties include some communities where the sale of alcohol is permitted, along with other communities where it is not.