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The California Alcoholic Beverage Control has a specific license type for clubs. It is License Types 50, 51, or 52. It authorizes a designated club to sell beer, wine, or distilled spirits to members or guests, on the premises of the club for consumption on the premises. It does not permit off-sale, or sale of controlled substances to be consumed off the premises. However, it is more permissive in two senses: first, it does not require the sale of food and it allows minors to be present on the premises. A Type 51 license also permits the club to seek a caterer’s permit from the ABC. A caterer’s permit typically allows the licensee to sell beer, wine, or spirits off premises at an approved location for a specified event. However, for club licenses, it still requires the event to take place at the premises of the licensee. It just means that if the club has a different building on-location to use for a limited time period, that it can license that particular building for that event. However, unlike caterer’s permits for other retail licenses, the number of permits granted to clubs is unlimited. Types of clubs that are eligible for the club license include:

  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Handball or Racquetball
  • Press
  • Yachting
  • Rod and Gun
  • Horse riding
  • Bar associations
  • Airlines club
  • Medical associations
  • Dental associations
  • Firemen’s associations
  • Peace officers’ association

This also includes any chapter, aerie, parlor, lodge, or other local unit of an “American national fraternal organization” operating in no less than 20 states and having no less than 175 units, in existence for no less than 20 years. In addition, it includes bonafide non-profit corporations that has been in existence for no less than 9 years, has more than 8,500 memberships issued, and owns, leases, operates, or maintains recreational facilities for its members. Other types of clubs may be eligible for a club license provided that such club meets the standards established by law as to membership, premises ownership, time of origin and services available. (Bus. & Prof Code, sections 23425-23438, 23320.1, 23399.2, 23825, 24072.5 and 24078).