Houston BYOB businesses now need permit, new ordinance approved by City Council

Houston has approved a new ordinance for establishments with 'Bring Your Own Beverage' policies, now requiring permits.

According to officials, the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department (ARA) recommended the Houston City Council create permitting and enforcement regulations for establishments that allow guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages to drink.

The city says between 2020 and 2022, the Houston Police Department (HPD) responded to approximately 1,029 calls for service at BYOB establishments after 2 a.m. The calls were said to be for various offenses including aggravated assault; theft; weapons violations; and murder.

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BYOB establishments routinely remain in operation during late night and early morning hours. In doing so, BYOB establishments often allow the consumption of alcohol on premises, increasing the likelihood of criminal activity.

The amendment would be to Chapter 28, Article XXII, and would apply to businesses that: 

  • Are not licensed or permitted by the TABC;
  • Are open to the public between 12:01 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.; and
  • Allow patrons to bring alcoholic beverages onto the premise for possession and consumption.

KRAKOW, POLAND - MARCH 28, 2023: Couple drinking cocktails in a restaurant, on March 28, 2023, in Krakow, Poland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 These establishments will be required to obtain "BYOB" permits that include the following requirements:

  • Shall apply for a BYOB permit annually
  • Owner and operator shall pass a criminal history check
  • The establishment shall not operate without a certificate of occupancy
  • Patrons must be at least 18 years or older to enter
  • Owner, operator, and employees must be 21 years or older
  • Shall provide a security plan
  • Shall be equipped with a metal detector or wand
  • Shall provide one security guard per every 100 patrons
  • Shall post signage stating "BYOB Establishment" at the entrance and signage in the parking lot prohibiting consumption of alcoholic beverages in the parking lot
  • Shall be equipped with exterior lighting fixtures to illuminate the area surrounding the establishment
  • Shall not sell alcohol on the premises
  • Shall not bring or consume alcohol on premises between the hours of 2:15 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. on Monday – Saturday, and 2:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Sunday
  • Shall provide interior and exterior security cameras.

According to the ordinance, the BYOB permit is non0transferrable and may not be revoked if the owner, operator, or employee of the establishment is convicted of violating any provision of the ordinance on two or more occasions within the term of the permit or within the 24-month period preceding the application date of the permit, or non-compliance with provisions in the ordinance.


A permit issued under this chapter is a grant of privilege and is not a property right.

The permit fees proposed are:

  • BYOB Permit Fee - $61
  • BYOB Inspection Fee - $466
  • BYOB Reinspection Fee - $350

To read the full ordinance from Houston City Council, click here.