Monday, February 15, 2021

Obtaining A New York Liquor License - Application & Process Basics

Once upon a time, my family and I ran a bar in Brooklyn, NY - let's just say it was a really... interesting experience. Anyways, I wrote this back in June of 2016 to share what I learned about getting a liquor license for a business and the application process itself.
Qualifying for a liquor license in New York State may seem straightforward, but will get complicated if you do not know the basics.

The application process starts with choosing your business's location in New York, because it can impact your license application.  A New York business selling alcoholic beverages must be 200 feet from schools and religious buildings.

Generally, you must also consider that a license for on-premises liquor consumption may be granted for any premise within 500 feet of three or more existing premises licensed and operating with an on-premises liquor license. This rule can be waived by the New York State Liquor Authority if it determines that the license would be “in the public interest” after consulting with the local Community Board and holding a public hearing commonly referred to as "The 500-Foot Hearing".

Additionally, only qualified persons can obtain a New York State liquor license.  The personal qualifications are simple:  you must be (1) 21 years of age; and (2) a US citizen with no criminal convictions. Please note that a felony DWI and some out-of-state convictions can all disqualify your application.

Also note that in New York City, community boards must also be informed of your intention to pursue a liquor license within 30 days of filing your application.  You must also publish notice in a newspaper once a week for two successive weeks after you file your application.

Knowing what kind of liquor license your New York business needs also changes the application process.  In New York, the following liquor licenses are available:

On-premise retail license
Liquor store and wine store license
Beer & wine product license (store)
Special event permit

There are also wholesale liquor licenses available from the State of New York.  

While owning a bar sounds like a lot of fun (that is, until you watch Bar Rescue), the application process can take can take as long as a year to process without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Attorneys are allowed to partake in New York State Liquor Authority's Self-Certification program. and can file retail applications on behalf of client-applicants by certifying that statements and documents provided in the application are true and accurate and that the application meets all statutory requirements. This means a more timely process for the applicant.

Yet another perk of having a law degree!

Gene Berardelli is a street-smart attorney with with over fifteen years of experience in civil and commercial litigation. Gene has achieved several career achievements, including successfully settling a seven-figure personal injury claim, successfully arguing before the New York State Appellate Division and successfully representing clients in trial litigation, mediations and arbitrations against such recognizable entities as the City of New York, New York City Transit Authority, JPMorgan Chase, TD Wealth Management Services, Inc., The Long Island Railroad, and Macy*s. Gene is also a noted New York Election Law expert who has had his opinions cited in scholarly works and published in news and feature articles.


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