Have you been wondering, “Is Vineyard Haven a dry town?” (Spoiler alert, it is not!). Martha’s Vineyard has unique liquor laws that can make purchasing alcohol a bit confusing for visitors. From dry towns to strict regulations on alcohol sales, navigating the island’s liquor laws can be a challenge.
When I first travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, it was an island with 4 dry towns. I have seen the laws change gradually over the years and alcohol is now available in 5 of the 6 towns on the island.
This article will tell you all you need to know, town by town, about the liquor licencing laws in Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard Liquor Laws in 2023
The rules about where you can drink or buy alcohol on Martha’s Vineyard are different from town to town and have changed a number of times throughout the years.
Ultimately, you can buy alcohol (in some form or other) in every town on the island except the last remaining Martha’s Vineyard dry town – Chilmark.
There’s no shortage of old blog articles online full of outdated information. But don’t worry, I have read all the bylaws, town meeting minutes and news reports so you don’t have to!
This article is the definitive, most accurate guide to the current state of alcohol laws on Martha’s Vineyard in 2023 as well as providing details on what visitors should keep in mind when planning a trip to the island
Liquor Laws in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs
In Edgartown and Oak Bluffs you can purchase beer, wine and liquor in restaurants, bars and liquor stores. These are the only towns with package stores where you can buy a wide variety of alcohol to carry out.
Although it’s part of Edgartown, there are no bars or restaurants on the Island of Chappaquiddick
It’s no coincidence that these towns are also home to most of the bars and restaurants on the island. Last call in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is at 12.30am with patrons to be out by 1am.
Island-wide ban on nips
Nips, (single use plastic containers under 100mls) will no longer be available on Martha’s Vineyard after May 2024. Edgartown and Oak Bluffs are the only towns where nips are sold.
This bylaw was voted in at town meetings in April 2023 and has largely been seen as a welcome development in effort to prevent littering and mitigate the environmental impact of single use plastics.
Tisbury (Vineyard Haven) Liquor Laws
In answer to the question “Is Vineyard Haven a dry town? No, it is not. In December 2022, the select board approved new laws so you can now order beer, wine or spirits in Vineyard Haven restaurants without purchasing food.
There are no Vineyard Haven bars but you can purchase beer, cans of mixed drinks and cocktails for takeout from some stores, like the Waterside Market on Main Street. This is a short distance from the Steamship Authority terminal. Their sister restaurant, Fish, also offers takeout cocktails.
West Tisbury Liquor Laws
In West Tisbury, you can purchase beer and wine at restaurants and occasionally at one-off events that have been granted a licence. You can only drink in restaurants while seated for a meal and only if that meal is served on solid dinnerware. Snacks, pretzels, chips or anything served on disposable plates (or with plastic forks, spoons etc) don’t count!
Aquinnah Liquor Laws
The town of Aquinnah grants beer and wine licences as long as the restaurant has an indoor seating capacity of 15 people or more. This means that few establishments in Aquinnah qualify for a licence.
The Outermost Inn is (at the time of writing), the only restaurant where you can purchase alcohol in Aquinnah. If you are planning to visit a smaller establishment, contact them in advance to ask if BYOB (Bring your own bottle) services are available.
Chilmark Liquor Laws
The town of Chilmark is the last, true, dry town on the island. Alcohol sales are not permitted at all here but most restaurants will open drinks for you if you bring your own. The Chilmark Tavern is famous for being a tavern in a dry town and if you BYOB, they will create drinks for you with their own delicious mixes (try the basil lime martini!).
Some restaurants may charge a corkage fee. As you won’t be able to purchase it locally, you can call and arrange for alcohol to be delivered from some of the down-island liquor stores to your accommodation in Chilmark.
Liquor Stores Martha’s Vineyard
Our Market, Jim’s Package Store and Vineyard Wine and Cheese Shop are located in Oak Bluffs
MV Wine and Spirits, Al’s Package Store, Your Market and Rosewater Wine & Spirits are in Edgartown. I always go to Your Market because they have a really big selection and reasonable pricing.
There is no liquor store in Vineyard Haven but some stores and restaurants offer limited canned alcoholic drinks or take-out drinks.
There are no liquor stores in Aquinnah or West Tisbury and there is no Chilmark liquor store either.
FAQs: Everything you need to know about purchasing alcohol on Martha’s Vineyard
What are the dry towns on Martha’s Vineyard?
Chilmark is the only remaining dry town on Martha’s Vineyard. Alcohol is available (with some limitations) for purchase in all the other towns on the island. See the breakdown for each town above.
Is West Tisbury a dry town?
No, West Tisbury is not a dry town. Beer and wine are available for purchase at restaurants but only while seated for a meal.
Is Vineyard Haven still a dry town?
No, Vineyard Haven is no longer a dry town. In 2009, it became legal to serve beer and wine at restaurants. In 2017, the law was extended to include all alcohol. In December 2022 new bylaws were approved allowing for the purchase of alcohol without the need to buy food.
What is the drinking age for Martha’s Vineyard?
21 is the legal drinking age for Martha’s Vineyard
Can you bring alcohol to Martha’s Vineyard?
Yes, you can bring alcohol to Martha’s Vineyard. You can also purchase a wide variety of alcohol on the island from package stores in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs
Can you drink alcohol on Martha’s Vineyard?
Yes, you can drink alcohol on Martha’s Vineyard. Drinks can be purchased in 5 out of the 6 towns on the island, with some restrictions (detailed above)
Does Martha’s Vineyard have bars?
Yes, Martha’s Vineyard has bars in two of the six island towns, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.
Does Martha’s Vineyard sell wine?
Yes, you can buy wine on Martha’s Vineyard. It is widely available at bars and restaurants across the island with the exception of the town of Chilmark
Do they make wine on Martha’s Vineyard?
No, contrary to the island’s name, they do not make wine on Martha’s Vineyard. The climate and environment are unsuitable for grape production.
Is Martha’s Vineyard a dry island?
No, Martha’s Vineyard is not a dry island. You can buy alcohol in 5 of the 6 towns on the island and you can bring alcohol with you from off-island
Is Oak Bluffs a dry town?
No, Oak Bluffs is not a dry town. You can purchase alcohol in liquor stores, bars and restaurants in Oak Bluffs.
Is Edgartown a dry town?
No, Edgartown is not a dry town. You can purchase alcohol in restaurants, liquor stores and bars in Edgartown
The truth Uncorked: Is Vineyard Haven a dry town?
Overall, Martha’s Vineyard is very much a “wet” destination with bars, restaurants, roof decks, patios, pool bars, breweries and local events (seasonal and year round), where you can enjoy a variety of mixed drinks, cocktails, wine or beer.
While the town of Chilmark remains dry, all other towns in Martha’s Vineyard offer alcohol for purchase and consumption in restaurants (with restrictions in some places).
You can also bring your own alcoholic beverages with you to the island, purchase carryout in some towns or if you are staying in up-island towns, you can arrange for delivery from down-island liquor stores.
This article should be used only as a guide to Martha’s Vineyard alcohol laws. Visitors should always check local laws prior to consuming alcohol on Martha’s Vineyard. Drink responsibly, and always plan for a safe ride home. Cheers!