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Glover Law is a boutique law firm that helps businesses and individuals navigate complex corporate and government affairs matters. The firm works with members of the hospitality industry on issues relating to state licenses, alcohol beverage sales, and potential franchise agreements.

Beverage Trends: Are Dogs Allowed in Florida Bars?

 

In a recent letter, the Florida Department of Health advised a number of bars and craft breweries that dogs and other animals are not allowed in bar areas. This will surprise many operators who (reasonably) believed that the live bird and animal ban for food service establishments did not apply to watering holes without food.

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The Department relies on its rule-based definition of the term food, which includes “any raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice beverage or ingredient used or intended for use in whole, or in part, for human consumption.” Under this interpretation, a bar would be serving food when it hands a customer that barrel-aged brew. The Department noted that animals are welcome on patios or similar areas.

I would not be surprised to see the industry push back on this issue. Many craft breweries pride themselves on being a welcoming meeting spot in the neighborhood. A dog ban could put a damper on that. 

Text of the August 13, 2018 letter from the Department of Health:

It has come to the attention of the Florida Department of Health-Duval, some facilities are allowing animals inside the bar area. Per Florida Administrative Code, 64E-11.008 (8) Live birds and animals - "No live birds or animals except for crustacea, shellfish and fish in aquariums shall be allowed in a food service establishment, in vehicles used for transporting food or in any other area or facility used to conduct food service operation; except as provided under Section 413.08 F.S.

Although Bars under the Department of Health do not have tradition food service, 64E-11 defines food as any raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice beverage or ingredient used or intended for use in whole, or in part, for human consumption.

Animals may be present outside the bar, on a patio or similar area.


Special thanks to the author for avoiding the use of dog puns. Please note that this page is made available by the law firm for educational purposes only, and that it is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Visiting this page does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm.