Being able to strut around in public with a cocktail is a unique aspect of Las Vegas that visitors love to take advantage of. So what’s legal and what’s not when drinking in public in Vegas? Laws around open containers actually differ from the Strip vs. Fremont Street which can cause some confusion. Luckily for you, we’re dweebs and enjoy reading through the letter of the law in order to share the cold hard facts.
Since the Strip is not actually located in the city of Las Vegas it falls under the jurisdiction of Clark County.
Clark County’s open container laws, which are applied along the Las Vegas Strip, (chapter 12.35) are pretty straightforward:
- You can consume any drink you want in the open as long as it is not in a glass container.
- Note that even non-alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed if in a glass container. Transfer that Frappuccino to a plastic cup ladies.
- If you want to legally bring a cocktail purchased at a casino bar on the road, most establishments provide a plastic cup that you can transfer it into.
- You also cannot drink in parking lots, on the premises or within 1,000 ft. of the liquor store the sealed beverage was purchased at.
Additionally, patrons on the strip are not able to consume if riding public transportation, utilizing ride share services like Uber/Lyft or driving a vehicle yourself.
Now onto Fremont Street which actually falls under the jurisdiction of the City of Las Vegas and city code 10.76 which is slightly more restrictive than the rules that govern the Strip. The city code stipulates:
- Only drinks that are served by a bar, casino, or restaurant are allowed to be carried and enjoyed in public.
- All open containers must be in a plastic cup – No aluminum or glass containers are allowed.
- You are prohibited from drinking alcohol purchased on an off-sale basis (such as a sealed container from a convenience store) on the Fremont Street Experience. This means that you are not able to buy a canned beer at the ABC convenience store and drink it out of the can, nor can you technically transfer it to a plastic cup. Do people do it? Yes. Are they punished severely? No.
- In fact, off-sale liquor retailers on the Fremont Street Experience must seal your alcoholic beverages in a bag at the time of purchase (typically a paper bag stapled shut). That bag cannot be opened by you on Fremont Street or you risk having your alcohol confiscated by the authorities.
- Most casinos offer plastic cups to transfer your casino purchased drinks into if you would like to leave the property.
- Essentially, if your beverage is purchased at a store in a sealed or corked condition, it is not legal to drink in public. If your beverage is purchased in an unsealed/uncorked state from a bar, restaurant or casino and is in a plastic cup you are in the clear!
Now, you’ll likely encounter a lot of folks knowingly or unknowingly breaking the rules on Fremont Street whether slugging down a convenience store purchased canned Lime-a-Rita, or transferring a beverage into a plastic cup. We too have unknowingly broken this statute and have not been reprimanded. While we don’t advocate breaking the law but have also rarely seen violations of the city code addressed harshly.