Food Service and Alcohol Permits

To ensure food and public safety, the University of Washington regulates the ways that food and liquor can be served on campus.

Food and beverage may be served in Communications 202/204, the Simpson Center seminar room and lounge, only. To do so, the proper permits must be secured.

Please identify your intention to serve food or liquor when reserving Simpson Center space.


For funded projects (except Graduate Interest Groups):  With sufficient notice—two weeks minimum, two months preferred—the Simpson Center will process the necessary permits for your event.

For Graduate Interest Groups: If you wish to serve alcohol at your event, you need to secure permission from the University of Washington and the Washington State Liquor Control Board for your group. Both systems are now fully online. Applicants must fill out the online forms at least 2 weeks in advance.

  • Begin by reviewing UW Alcohol Guidelines and Policies
  • Request UW approval. This request will be routed through the Simpson Center.
  • When you receive UW approval, the approval email will instruct you to:
    • Purchase the state issued Banquet Permit online. Cost is $11.
    • Post both the approved UW application and the purchased WA State Liquor Control Board Banquet Permit in a conspicuous location at the meeting/event. (The Simpson Center uses the fridge in the kitchen.)

Food Service

The Simpson Center can support catered events in Communications 202/204 and for conferences in outside venues, according to your budget provisions, preferences, and our planning needs and staffing availability.

For funded projects (except Graduate Interest Groups): 

  • Primary project liaisons should contact their Simpson Center primary contact early regarding catering needs.
  • For all events involving catering and/or alcohol, please provide at least two months planning notice. Please indicate your intention to serve food and alcohol when you reserve Simpson Center space for your event.

For Graduate Interest Groups:

  • Eating In: Pre-packaged food purchased from groceries such as Trader Joe's or QFC does not require a food permit. Nor does food purchased from UW caterers and service providers such as Bay Laurel, the UW Club, or Pagliacci Pizza.
    • If you host an outside caterer, however, you will need to secure a temporary food permit.
    • UW caterers and service providers can also be paid for directly on your Simpson Center budget. Just request an estimate from the service provider, and then contact the Simpson Center for a budget number.
  • Eating Out: Your Graduate Interest Groups may choose to go out after a working session or event.
    • If you wish to go to the UW Club, contact the Administrative Coordinator to request use of the Simpson Center's card. You will need to return it ASAP after your event, with the receipt.
    • If you wish to go out elsewhere, one person should pay or charge the bill, and return the receipt with an expense form for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement for Food and Liquor Expenses: Please submit original receipts with an expense form.
    • If the person submitting for reimbursement is not the primary project liaison, please have the liaison write or send a note acknowledging and authorizing the expense.



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