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Expertise in a Package: A Consulting Blog

Want A Liquor License For Your Establishment? Here's What You Should Know

by Carmen Fisher

If you want to open a bar or run a restaurant or an event hall where alcohol will be served, you'll first need to obtain a liquor license so that you can lawfully offer alcoholic beverages. Liquor licensing requirements often vary between different states, cities, and counties, but there are some common facts about getting a license that you should know. Making yourself aware of these important details can make the process of getting your liquor license easier.


Regardless of where you live or work, you'll need to submit a liquor license application and pay the appropriate fees to obtain licensing. On the application, you'll need to specify that you meet eligibility requirements, such as:

  • Being 21 years of age or older
  • Holding U.S. citizenship
  • Not having had a liquor license revoked within the last two years

You may also be asked on the application to submit fingerprint samples and undergo a criminal background check before you'll be authorized to hold a liquor license. Your local jurisdiction may even require you to have your premises where the liquor will be served inspected by a police officer and fire marshall along with other authorities so that your establishment is deemed safe. After your application is received by the certifying body, you'll likely have to wait 30 days or more to receive your license if you're approved.

Additional Documents

Along with your application, you'll likely be required to submit additional documents to the certifying body before a license can be granted to you. You'll need to prove who you are by submitting the required identification documents. Other documents that you may be required to submit include a:

  • Business license
  • Tax clearance
  • Building lease agreement or proof of ownership
  • Form from the landlord granting permission to serve alcohol (if applicable)

On-Premises vs. Off-Premises License

These names may vary by location, but you'll want to be sure that you apply for the right type of license to save yourself any delays or extra hassles. If you run a restaurant, a bar, or some other type of business where the alcohol will be consumed on location, an on-premises license will be the appropriate option. An off-premises license is required if you run a store and are selling alcohol that will be consumed away from the premises.

Beverage Types

The types of alcoholic beverages that are served sometimes have different liquor licensing requirements. Under most jurisdictions, a standard liquor license is all that's needed to serve beer and wine only. If you plan to serve hard liquor, you might have to apply for another license that has stricter eligibility requirements.

Food Service Requirements

You may be required to serve food at your establishment in order to obtain an on-premises liquor license. Some jurisdictions even require all bars to offer some type of food to patrons, so you may need to expand your business if you were only planning to serve alcohol.

Licenses for One-day Events 

Your local liquor licensing legal code may permit you to apply for a liquor license that's only valid for a single day if you're planning an event. This license will allow alcoholic beverages to be served within a designated area. Details regarding the date, time, and place of your event must be specified on the licensing application.

You'll likely face certain challenges as you try to get a liquor license, but arming yourself with the right information can prepare you better for the endeavor. By following all the required steps correctly, you might be granted a liquor license sooner than you think. To learn more, check out different license application websites or navigate to this website.