On-Premises Liquor Licenses

New York State on-premises liquor licensees can sell and serve alcoholic beverages by the glass for consumption on the premises of their establishment (e.g., bars, restaurants, taverns, hotels).

Applicants for such licenses must notify the municipality, where the premises are or would be located, of their intent to file an application. Applicants must use a form approved by the New York State Liquor Authority, and the notice of intent must be submitted to the municipality at least 30 days before an on-premises application is filed with the Liquor Authority.

In New York City, the municipality requiring advance notification is the establishment’s local community board. New York City licensees must additionally notify the respective community board 30 days in advance of filing an application to 1) renew their license, 2) make alterations to the premises or 3) make substantial changes to corporate ownership. The advance notice requirement is intended to provide local government with an opportunity to make their views known to the Liquor Authority.

The Liquor Authority’s application review period can vary depending on the type of license one applies for, the volume of applications being submitted, and the completeness of one’s application. Any deficiencies in an application may result in delays or disapproval of the license by the Liquor Authority, not the local community board. As advisory bodies, community boards are not empowered to approve or deny liquor licenses. They may instead choose to submit complaints or recommendations to the Liquor Authority.

When a community board submits an opinion (also known as a recommendation) to the Liquor Authority, this opinion becomes part of the record used by the Authority in deciding whether or not to approve the application being considered. While opinions from community boards are not binding, the Liquor Authority considers input from local government in all licensing decisions. For applications not subject to the 500 Foot Law,* however, community opposition alone is not sufficient to disapprove an application.

Community boards may work with on-premises licensees to place stipulations on a license. If the community board and applicant reach an agreement with respect to the operation of the establishment, the Authority can incorporate these conditions or stipulations into the application. These stipulations then become conditions of the license privilege, and the licensee may face disciplinary action if they fail to comply.

As part of the FY 2023 New York State Budget, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (the state law governing the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol products in New York) was amended to allow applicants to provide the required 30-day advanced notice to community boards via email, provided the individual community board elects to accept notices via email. Prior to this change in law, applicants were required to provide notification by 1) certified mail, return receipt requested, 2) overnight delivery service with proof of mailing or 3) personal service upon the offices of the clerk or community board.

Each community board may have its own procedures for how it chooses to review and give opinions on any given liquor license application.

*The “500 Foot Law” limits the ability of the State Liquor Authority to issue an on-premises retail license for the sale and/or consumption of liquor to any premises which is within 500 feet of three establishments that are currently operating with on-premises liquor licenses. The applications can only be approved if the State Liquour Authority finds that issuing the license is in the public interest. The restriction only applies in municipalities with a population of 20,000 or more, and a tavern or restaurant licensed only to serve wine or beer is not subject to the 500 Foot Law.