Have a few questions about serving alcohol in New Mexico?  We’ve got you covered!

Here at NMRA, we answer a lot of calls and inquiries about alcohol service.  Maybe you’ve even taken one of our Servers Permit classes. Based on the most frequently asked questions of our association, we have put together vital items to keep in your toolbox when it comes to serving alcohol.

NOTE:  Our answers are based on the regulations for the State of New Mexico.  If you are serving in another state, consult your local restaurant association or applicable board. We have provided a copy of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Regulations at the end of this post as a service to the industry. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Please seek the assistance of a licensed professional in any legal situation.

1. What hours can I sell and serve alcohol?
  • For a Restaurant Liquor License (beer & wine), the hours of operations are from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm or until meal service ceases – whichever is earlier – from Monday through Saturday.
  • For all other license types, it’s from 7:00 am until midnight for package liquor sales and from 7:00 am until 2:00 am for on-premise consumption.
2. Are there special rules for certain days?

The most recent changes to the New Mexico liquor laws, provide expanded service on days that were historically restricted from alcohol sales.

Currently there are NO Christmas, Election or Sunday restrictions in terms of hours of operation. For restaurants, the law allows for the following hours for serving and consumption of alcohol: 7 a.m. – 2 a.m., 7 days a week & 7 a.m. – midnight for package sales. The only hours restrictions are for the new A & B licenses which must stop serving at 11 p.m. or when the kitchen stops serving, whichever is earlier.

60-7A-1. Hours and days of business.

A. Provided that nothing in this section shall prohibit the consumption at any time of alcoholic beverages in guest rooms of hotels, alcoholic beverages shall be sold, served and consumed on licensed premises only from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. on the following day.

B. Except as provided in Subsection C of this section, alcoholic beverages may be sold by a dispenser or a retailer in unbroken packages, for consumption off the licensed premises and not for resale from 7:00 a.m. until midnight.

3.  Who am I NOT allowed to serve?

You can not serve minors or intoxicated persons.  This includes minors who are accompanied by a parent of spouse over 21. Here’s what ABC’s rules say:

10.51.11 Sales to intoxicated persons: No licensee shall sell, serve, procure or aid in the procurement of alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person if the licensee knows or has reason to know that the person is obviously intoxicated.

10.33.10 No Sale, service, possession or consumption permitted: Under no circumstances, may minors purchase, be served, possess or consume alcoholic beverages on a licensed premises, and nothing in these rules, including provisions, permitting minors on licensed premises, shall be constructed as permitting the sale or service to, or possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage, by a minor on a licensed premises.

Both the server and the licensee can be cited for serving minors or intoxicated persons. Check the regulations (in the helpful links below) for penalties involving sales to minors or intoxicated person by licensee and by server.

4. What are some signs of someone who is intoxicated?

Relaxed inhibitions – Your guest may:

  • Be overly friendly
  • Be unfriendly, depressed, or quiet
  • Use foul language
  • Become loud
  • Make rude comments

Impaired judgment – Your guest may:

  • Complain about the strength of a drink after having consumed others of the same strength
  • Begin drinking faster or switch to larger or stronger drinks
  • Make irrational or argumentative statements
  • Become careless with money (i.e., buying drinks for strangers)

Slowed reaction time – Your guest may:

  • Talk or move slowly
  • Be unable to concentrate, lose their train of thought, or become forgetful
  • Become drowsy
  • Become glassy-eyed, lose eye contact, or lose the ability to focus

Impaired motor coordination – Your guest may:

  • Stagger, stumble, fall down, or bump into objects
  • Be unable to pick up objects or may drop them
  • Spill drinks or miss their mouths when drinking
  • Sway when sitting or standing
  • Slur their speech
  • Have difficulty lighting a cigarette
5. What should I look for when checking ID?

Check the Date of Birth

Check that the photo matches your guest

Check the signature on id

Check for an ID’s  state specific qualifications.  Use and ID reader guide if you need to.

6.  What do I need to know about serving pregnant women?

Serving pregnant woman – In New Mexico it is legal for a pregnant woman to consume alcohol. Refusing to serve alcohol to a woman because she’s pregnant is gender discrimination.

7. Can I serve alcohol without a permit or expired permit?

No.   Also, when your permit expires, you do NOT have a 30 day grace period to replace it.  The grace period in the rule below ONLY applies to those who have never had a permit.

11.31.8 Server Permits: Issuance, Distribution, Replacement: Server permit required every licensee or lessee who is directly involved in sale or service of alcoholic beverages, and all servers must satisfactorily complete a program every three years to obtain a server permit. No person shall be employed as server on a licensed premises unless that person first obtains a server permit, except that a person not previously certified must obtain a server permit with 30 days of employment.

8.  If my guest has a designated driver, is it okay to overserve them?

No. This is NOT allowed. All guests are treated equally when serving alcohol whether a designated driver is present or not.  The rules in #3 above apply regardless of transportation.

9.  Are posters required to display?

Yes. Here’s what the rules say about posters:

11.2.9 Poster Requirements

A. Licensees that sell alcoholic beverages directly to the public shall display the following poster in full public view within the licensed premises. The director will prescribe the forms and sizes of the posters except that the licensee may make the poster larger than what is prescribed. The director will make copies available to all licensees:

  1. Posters giving notice that the law prohibits the caring of any operative firearm on a licensed premises, except where the licensed premises is subject to the concealed carry exception, the licensee may display a poster giving notice of the concealed carry exception, as long as the poster also gives notice that the laws prohibits all other operative firearms on the licensed premises;
  2. Poster warning of the dangers of drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
  3. Posters identifying all restricted areas of the licensed premises in which minors are prohibited, unless accompanied by a parent, adult spouse or legal guardian, except that such posters are not required for premises licensed as a restaurant serving beer and wine; and
  4. Posters warning of the dangers of, and penalties for, driving while intoxicated.

Sample Posters:

Minors Not Permitted

Pregnancy Warning

Choose one of these:

No Firearms Allowed Poster: To be posted in any restaurant that has elected to prohibit firearms of any kind, whether open or concealed, on its licensed premises by conspicuously posting this sign, and in all other licensed premise that are licensed to sell beer, wine, or spirits for on-premise consumption.

No Firearms Allowed EXCEPT Concealed Carry Poster: To be posted on all licensed premises that do not sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premise, or restaurant that has not elected to prohibit firearms of any kind whether open or concealed, on its premise by conspicuously posting the sign on its premises.

No Firearms Allowed by Election of Landowner Poster: To be posted on all licensed premises that do not sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises but choose to prohibit all firearms at the election of the landowner.

10. Do I have to keep records/copies of server permit?

Yes. The licensee (business) has to keep a list or copy.  Here is what the rules say: SERVER CERTIFICATIONS:
For all server certifications required pursuant to Section 60-6E-6 NMSA 1978 of the act, all licensees shall keep a current list of all such certifications, including server number and expiration date, available at the licensed premises in either hard or electronic copy to be made available upon request. In the event that proof of such server certification is only available as

a temporary, written document, such temporary proof shall be available at the licensed premises in either a hard copy or as a scanned electronic copy to be made available upon request.The licensee or lessee, not any server, is responsible for compliance with this section.


11. What are the age requirements to obtain a server permit?

Only individuals over 21 years of age may sell or serve alcohol in bars, lounges convenience, grocery and package stores.

19 and 20 year olds may obtain a permit to sell or serve alcohol in a full service restaurant with meals, but may not be a bartender.  This only applies to Restaurant Liquor Licenses.

Have a question we didn’t answer?  Contact us and we will add it to the list!


NM State Statutes -Revised 7/1/2021

Alcoholic Beverage Control Summary of Changes 9/28/2021

2021 Liquor Law FAQs