The wardroom is the mess cabin or compartment for commissioned naval officers above the rank of midshipman. Although the term typically applies to officers in a navy, it is also applicable to marine officers and coastguard officers in those nations that have such service branches. Typically the mess compartment aboard a naval or coastguard vessel, and on larger vessels, such as aircraft carriers of the United States Navy, there may be more than one wardroom. It may also be used to refer to similar officer mess facilities at naval, marine, and coastguard installations ashore.
The term the wardroom is also used (metonymically) to refer to those individuals with the right to occupy that wardroom, meaning "the officers of the wardroom."
The wardroom provides a place of recreation as well as being a dining room. Usually, a galley or scullery adjoins the wardroom. Service is provided by stewards, now known in some services as mess specialists or culinary specialists.
On warships other than those of the U.S. Navy, there is usually a bar where alcoholic drinks can be purchased. Ships can be either "wet" or "dry": the former allowing the consumption of alcohol at sea, while the latter only allows alcohol when alongside at port, if at all. Ships of the United States Navy have not allowed alcohol consumption onboard since 1913, although since 1980 unique, by exception, single-day waivers have been granted to vessels deployed in excess of 90 days without a port call.