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Responsible Serving of Alcohol

It is highly recommended that Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) or Crimson Catering be used for all events in which alcohol will be served. This is to ensure that proper protocols are followed for the safety of all attendees. If this is not possible, please be sure all of the items below are addressed: 

  • Certified bartenders must be the only individuals to serve alcohol at your event. Never, under any circumstance, should you serve alcohol on your own. Please also direct bartenders to check ID's before serving any individual. Resources include:
  • If not using a full-service catering/bartending provider, other licenses needed include a one-day liquor license (if purchasing on your own from an approved city vendor) and/or possibly an entertainment license (see links for information). Cambridge License Commission here; Boston License Commission here for alcohol and here for entertainment
  • Discuss certifications/licenses with the catering vendors you are using to determine what they already have and what you will need to obtain on your own (if any). Full service, onsite catering companies (recommended approach) will typically have all the needed food and beverage certifications/licenses through their business operations. NOTE: all drop-off orders will require you to secure your own certified staff and licenses regardless of vendor used. 
  • No one under the age of 21 should consume/be served alcohol at any time. Consequences of breaking this Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L. c138, § 34) can be found here.
  • Ample food must be served.
  • Water and other non-alcoholic beverages must be available to event attendees.
  • If hosting an event with a cash bar and/or over 100 people in attendance where alcohol is being served, security will be needed. Harvard police detail can be secured here. NOTE: be sure to place a request at least two-weeks in advance.