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Liquor Licensing Attorney in Long Island, New York

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown bars and restaurants into disarray with on-premises liquor licenses, prior to the shutdowns, there were more than 51,200 operating liquor licensees in New York State — 60% of them in New York City.

As those with on-premises licenses struggle to return to profitability, many other entrepreneurs may now be looking for an opportunity to get their own license and begin operating, whether in an on-premises or off-premises capacity.

What does it take to obtain a liquor license in New York State? What hurdles will you have to overcome?

If you’re located on Long Island, or anywhere in the Five Boroughs of New York City, you can rely on my personalized services at Lawrence M. Gordon, Attorney at Law, PC. With four-plus decades of helping people and businesses obtain liquor licenses and complete other commercial transactions, I am ready to help you navigate the obstacles and obtain the license you desire. Contact me at my office in Bellmore today to learn more.

Liquor License Eligibility

The New York State Liquor Authority handles applications for liquor licenses. Application requirements can vary depending on the type of liquor license being requested. Though there are many categories, the four main ones are:

  • On-premises licenses (bars, restaurants, taverns, hotels)

  • Off-premises licenses (liquor stores, wine stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores)

  • Manufacturing licenses (breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries, meaderies)

  • Wholesale licenses (liquor, beer, and wine wholesalers, importers)

The on-premises liquor license application itself specifically lists those who do not qualify, including:

  • Anyone under the age of 21

  • Anyone not a citizen or without legal permanent residency (LPR) status

  • Anyone convicted of a felony, promoting or permitting prostitution, or selling liquor without an alcoholic beverage license

  • Anyone who had a previous liquor license revoked

  • Anyone who has a wholesale liquor license

Location Restrictions

There are two restrictions on locating an on-premises liquor operation, known as the 200-foot rule and the 500-foot rule.

The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Law prohibits the location of an on-premises operation on the same street or within 200 feet of a building that is used exclusively as a school, church, synagogue, or another place of worship.

The law makes some exceptions for licensees in operation prior to December 5, 1933, and for those in operation before the school or place of worship came into existence.

The 500-foot rule prohibits an on-premises licensee from operating within a 500-foot radius of three or more establishments that are currently operating with on-premises liquor licenses. This rule applies only to cities, towns, or villages with a population of 20,000 people or more.

If the rule applies, an applicant can still seek a license but must prove at a “500-Foot Hearing” that it is in the public interest to approve the new license.

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The Application Process

The application process varies between on-premises and off-premises licenses.

On-premises licenses themselves vary by type of establishment. As an example, there are different licenses for hotel beer, hotel wine, and hotel liquor. There are also licenses for catering establishments, ballpark beer, clubs, cabarets, bed & breakfast establishments, chains, golf clubs, and many other categories.

On-Premises Applications

For an on-premises application, you must provide:

  • A completed application

  • All fees

  • A $1,000 penal bond

  • Proof of citizenship

  • Photos of the premises and its principals

  • Photo identification for each principal

  • Lease/deed/management agreement (if applicable)

  • Contracts of sale for the real property and/or business (if applicable)

  • Investment records

  • Diagrams of the premises

  • The filing receipt

  • Menu

  • Community board/municipality 30-day notification and proof of mailing or delivery (You must use the standardized notice form and wait 30 days after notification to file your application with the New York State Liquor Authority)

  • Restroom waiver request (if only one restroom)

  • Notice of appearance (if represented by someone other than the applicant principals)

  • Holding corp stipulation (if the applicant company is owned or partially owned by another legal entity)

Before the license is issued, you will also be required to show proof of workers’ compensation and disability insurance, along with:

  • Assumed name filing receipt

  • Certificate of authority

  • Certificate of occupancy

  • Newspaper affidavit

Off-Premises Applications

Categories for off-premises licenses include grocery store beer, grocery store beer and wine, drug store beer, drug store beer and wine, liquor store, roadside farm market, and beer vendor. At the time of filing, you must provide:

  • A completed application

  • All fees

  • A $1,000 penal bond

  • Proof of citizenship or status

  • Photos of the proposed premises

  • Photos of the principals

  • Photo identification for each principal

  • Lease/deed/contracts of sale for the real property

  • Investment records

  • Diagrams of the premises

  • Filing receipt

  • Pharmacy license certificate (drug stores only)

  • Notice of appearance (if represented by someone other than the applicant principals)

  • Holding corp stipulation (if the applicant company is owned or partially owned by another legal entity)

Before the license is issued, you must prove that you have workers’ compensation and disability insurance, along with an assumed name filing receipt, certificate of authority, and photos of the premises showing it to be ready to open and operate.

If you wish to apply for a manufacturing or wholesale license, check with me on the details.

The Importance of a Skilled Attorney

As you can see, applying for a liquor license (whether on- or off-premises) is not a simple matter of filling out an online form and submitting it with an application fee. You have to assemble several documents to accompany your application, and even after you’ve done all that, you can anticipate that the licensing board will throw more qualification or documentation requests at you. If you’re not properly prepared, the process can literally take months, precious time lost in opening and operating your business.

I have dealt with countless applications through the years, and I can work with you to make sure everything is in order. I will stand by and help you every step of the way.

If you’re seeking a liquor license in or around Long Island or the other boroughs of New York City, contact me immediately to get the process started.

Liquor Licensing Attorney
Serving Long Island, New York

My firm — Lawrence M. Gordon, Attorney at Law, P.C. — is located in Bellmore, N.Y. and assists clients throughout Long Island, including the north shore, Oyster Bay, North Hempstead, Hempstead, Huntington, throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as the Five Boroughs of New York City. Reach out today to get the experienced legal guidance and support you need!