June 23, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Obtaining an Alcohol License – What You Need to Know

If you plan to open a bar or restaurant serving alcohol, it’s essential to understand the state and local requirements for liquor licenses. This article will help you compare rules by state, determine fees and other costs, and learn all the details of obtaining a liquor permit.


The location of your liquor license office is crucial. This is because it determines whether your business will be allowed to sell alcohol. For example, some states may refuse to issue a license if it is within 500 feet of another establishment with an on-premises liquor license.

Additionally, your local zoning laws may dictate whether or not you can sell alcohol. You should also check with the local ABC board to see if any liquor licenses are available for sale.

These licenses can be a real boon to your business, especially since they have high-profit margins. However, obtaining one is a process that requires many hoops to jump through. 

License Type

If you hope to open a bar, brewery, or restaurant, you need an alcohol license Dallas TX, to serve alcohol. Different types of licenses are available depending on the business type. The type of license you need will depend on your state’s ABC regulations.

Some states require specific documentation, property documents, inspection and fees, and zoning requirements. You will also need to publish legal notices and notify churches and schools within 300 feet of the business.

Other requirements for obtaining a liquor license vary by state, such as criminal history and employee training. The state’s ABC board regulates the process and requires meeting specific criteria like location, size, type of establishment, and whether the business will sell BYOB. There are also particular permit types for clubs, brewpubs, and hotel resorts. Liquor licensing is a highly regulated process that takes three months or longer.

License Fees

Depending on your state, license fees vary significantly. Some states use a flat fee for all applications, while others divide the licenses into categories based on the products sold and the business’s purpose.

You must submit much documentation with your application; even the smallest mistake could delay the process. Make sure to proofread your application and ask for someone else’s review to ensure accuracy. You may be required to attend a hearing or inspection before you receive your license, so be prepared for that as well.


Obtaining a liquor license can be complicated for new businesses, especially in areas with already high concentrations of licensed establishments. It’s essential to understand the specifics of licensing programs, eligibility, Alcoholic Beverage Control or ABC Law, and State Liquor Authority regulations to ensure you’re on the right track.

Before completing the application, determine which license class you need for your business. Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol for on-premise consumption need an on-license, while bottle shops and grocery stores that sell alcohol need an off-license.

Depending on your location, you may also need to submit other paperwork.