AIMS: Excessive parental drinking has been shown to be positively related to adolescent alcohol use and family bonding negatively related. The aim of the present study was to determine if the perception of parental drinking moderates the relationship between family bonding and adolescent alcohol use. METHODS: Linear structural equation models for multiple group comparisons were estimated based on a national representative sample of 3,448 eight and ninth graders in Switzerland (mean age 14.77; SD 0.89). RESULTS: Adjusted for gender and age, the results confirm that strong family bonds were negatively related to both frequency of alcohol intake and lifetime frequency of drunkenness. Furthermore, a positive link was found with regard to the perception of parental drinking. However, the multiple group comparison revealed that the negative relationship between bonding and adolescent alcohol use was even stronger among adolescents whose parents drink excessively than among those whose parents did not. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that it may be particularly important for parents in the former category to establish strong family bonds (e.g. by spending free time with their children, listening to their worries) so as to limit adolescent excessive drinking.