Scroll Top
200 N. LaSalle Street Suite 2150 Chicago, IL 60601

What Type of Chicago Liquor License Do I Need?

Choosing the Right Type of Liquor License in Illinois

The most common question we get regarding liquor licenses is how much will it cost? However, before we can answer that question, it is important for you to identify what type of Chicago liquor license you need. There are six main classifications for liquor licenses in the City of Chicago. Each type of license has its own benefits and restrictions. It is important that you consider what type of business you want to run before discussing your options with a qualified Chicago liquor license attorney.

Some of the considerations at the early stages include: Will, will you sell food? If so, what percentage of your sales will come from food? What are your hours of operation? After you address these basic questions you will more easily be able to decide what type of Chicago liquor license is best for you.

The main types of liquor licenses are as follows:

Tavern License

Any time the sale of liquor is the primary source of your business you will need a tavern license. If all or the majority of your revenues come from the sale of liquor to be consumed on your premises, you will need a tavern license. Holders of a tavern license are prohibited from allowing anyone in their establishment who is under 21 years of age.

Tavern licenses are subject to certain areas of the city which have instituted moratoriums on the issuance of new licenses.

The fee for a Tavern Licenses $4,400.00 plus a one-time publication fee of $40.00. The license must be renewed every two years.

Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity License

The incidental activity license can easily be described as a “restaurant license.” This is the license that a business will need if the sale of alcohol is not the primary source of revenue. In incidental activity license is appropriate for restaurants, hotels, banquet halls, bowling alleys etc. Generally, businesses with incidental activity licenses are also required to have some other type of licensing from the city such as a restaurant license.

Moratorium restrictions generally do not apply to incidental activity licenses.

The fee for a Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity License is $4,400.00 plus a one-time publication fee of $40.00.

Packaged Goods License

As the name implies, a packaged goods license is required for a business that sells liquor which is enclosed in the original manufacturer packaging and must be consumed off premise. Businesses that need a packaged goods license are liquor stores, convenience stores, grocery stores etc. Though your patrons are not allowed to consume alcohol on premises, holders of packaged goods licenses are permitted to provide tastings to their customers under certain circumstances.

The fee for a Packaged Goods License is $4400.00 plus a one-time publication fee of $40.00.

Club License

These licenses can be issued to Illinois nonprofit corporations who are incorporated solely for the promotion of a purpose unrelated to the alcohol consumption. Before a club can receive a license it must be active in and continuous existence for more than three years and have more than 50 members. In order to receive a club license, the club must also have a Retail Food License from the City of Chicago and a proper kitchen and dining area to serve meals.

Moratorium restrictions may apply to club licenses.

The fee for a Club Licenses $1,100.00 plus a one-time publication fee of $40.00.

Caterer’s License

As the name implies, this license is appropriate for caterers and restaurants who serve food and alcohol off premises. This means that the caterer or restaurant prepares the food at one location and then serves the food in another location.

The fee for a Caterer’s License is $4,400.00 (or $2,200.00 if the applicant already has a Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity License) plus a one-time publication fee of $40.00.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Liquor License Attorney

While these licenses may seem straightforward, there are many nuances to each of them. It is important that after you develop your business plan, you meet with a professional to discuss the best approach for obtaining the necessary licenses from the City of Chicago. The Chicago liquor license attorneys at Hays Firm LLC are available to assist and guide you in the process of selecting the proper liquor license and throughout the entire application process. Please feel free to contact us anytime with your questions.

Contact Us