Public Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

It is a commonly-held belief that it's illegal to walk down the street drinking a beer in Texas. However, that is not always the case. Public consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public places in state parks and where a city has specifically made it illegal.

In 1993, the Texas Legislature enacted Section 109.35 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code which states that a city council can petition TABC to adopt an order to prohibit the possession of an open container or the public consumption of alcoholic beverages in the central business district of the city. "Central business district" is defined as a compact and contiguous geographical area of a municipality in which at least 90 percent of the land is used or zoned for commercial purposes and that is the area that has historically been the primary location in the municipality where business has been transacted.

An Order for Prohibition on Consumption does not prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, buildings not owned or controlled by the municipality, residential structures, or licensed premises located in the area of prohibition.

Following is a list of cities where TABC has adopted an order prohibiting public consumption of alcohol. Click on the city to view a copy of the Commission's order for prohibition as well as a map of the central business district.

Cities in Alphabetical Order – Date of Order

From the Alcoholic Beverage Code

Sec. 109.35. ORDERS FOR PROHIBITION ON CONSUMPTION.
  (a)  If the governing body of a municipality determines that the possession of an open container or the public consumption of alcoholic beverages in the central business district of the municipality is a risk to the health and safety of the citizens of the municipality, the governing body may petition for the adoption of an order by the commission that prohibits the possession of an open container or the public consumption of alcoholic beverages in that central business district.
  (b)  If a municipality submits a petition for an order of the commission to prohibit the possession of an open container or the public consumption of alcoholic beverages in the central business district of the city and attaches to the petition a map, plat, or diagram showing the central business district that is to be covered by the prohibition, the commission shall approve and issue the order without further consideration unless the commission finds that the map, plat, or diagram improperly identifies the central business district.
  (c)  The commission's order may not prohibit the possession of an open container or the consumption of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, buildings not owned or controlled by the municipality, residential structures, or licensed premises located in the area of prohibition.
  (d)  In this section, "central business district" means a compact and contiguous geographical area of a municipality in which at least 90 percent of the land is used or zoned for commercial purposes and that is the area that has historically been the primary location in the municipality where business has been transacted.
  (e)  In this section, "open container" means a container that is no longer sealed.

From the Texas Parks and Wildlife State Park Operational Rules

Sec. 59.134 Rules of Conduct: Alcoholic beverages. It is an offense for any person to consume or display an alcoholic beverage in a public place; or sell alcoholic beverages within a state park.

Sec. 59.131 Definitions. Public place: Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. The interior spaces of the following are not considered public places:
(A) department cabins, screened shelters, recreation halls, group barracks, and lodges; and
(B) tents, campers, trailers, motor homes, or any enclosed vehicle(s) that are used as camping equipment.