Filling Out the Liquor License Application

New York liquor license lawyer can help with applicationTime Sensitive:


• In the City of New York, you are required to notify the local community board at least 30 days prior to submitting an application to the State Liquor Authority for a license for on premise consumption of liquor, wine or beer.

• Outside of the City of New York you are required to notify the clerk of the city, town or village where this premises is located at least 30 days prior to submitting an application to the State Liquor Authority for a license for on premises consumption of liquor.


It was important to get that out of the way before going through the details of the application because you must wait 30 days after notifying the community before submitting your application.  As you can see, ignorance of this has caused many delays… what we are trying to avoid.

Let’s get started.

The three main components of the Liquor License Application are the application itself, the personal questionnaire and the accompanying documents.  Even though the questionnaire is a part of the application, when you add in copies of bank statements, it can make up a large portion of the total paperwork to be compiled and submitted.


On Premise Retail Application

The application is pretty straight forward.  We will discuss some key points here but for a much more detailed explanation of each line of the application, refer to the On Premise Liquor License Instructions from the NYSLA Website.

First, you need to ensure that you are eligible to sell alcoholic beverages.  The Statutory Disqualifications to holding a retail license under the ABC Law are:

1. Under the age of 21;

2. Not U.S. citizens or aliens admitted to the U.S. for permanent lawful residence;

3. Convicted of any felony, promoting or  permitting prostitution, sale of liquor without an alcoholic beverage license;

4. Police officers/police officials;

5. A person whose liquor license was revoked;


6. A person who has a wholesale license.

If you are eligible to apply then I suggest reading through the entire application before filling it out.  This will give you a better understanding of the application process as a whole and I have found it is good to get your mind working on all the information you will need to compile over the coming weeks.


Right to Premises Where Alcohol Will Be Sold

It is strongly suggested that you contact the State Liquor Authority, or have a liquor license attorney make the call for you, before you file an application to determine if there are any disciplinary actions pending that may either delay or prevent the issuance of a license at the proposed premises.  Please be aware that [the liquor board] may not disclose a pending investigation at a location.
source: NYSLA on premises liquor instructions document

The last line of that excerpt is crucial and even more of a reason to have a qualified attorney on your side.  It says that even if you call and ask, the Liquor Authority holds the right not to tell you about a pending investigation at a location!

Actual or Estimated Expenses

Here you will need to have a clear picture about where each of your invested dollars will be spent and where that money will be coming from.

This is the first mention of the personal questionnaire.  It comes as a surprise to most people that any joint account holders from where money is derived will also need to fill out a questionnaire.


The 500 Foot Rule

Are there 3 or more existing establishments with on premise liquor licenses within 500 feet of your location?

If so, you will need to explain in writing,…

in detail, why granting of the license applied for would be in the public interest, not how it would be in the applicant’s interests.  If applicable, you must also provide the names and addresses of the businesses with on-premises liquor licenses located within 500′ of the proposed premises.
source: NYSLA on premises liquor instructions document

Statement of Area Plan and “200 Foot Rule”

Is the proposed premises located within 200 feet of a school, church or place of worship?

It is important to note that here you must include any school, church or place of worship located within 300 feet… and the State Liquor Authority will then decide if that is acceptable.


Personal Questionnaire

Again, a personal questionnaire must be filled out by

  • All sole proprietors
  • Each partner in a partnership
  • For Corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLC), see further instructions for line 10
  • Managers
  • Individual lenders, donors and giftors
  • Co-signers of loans
  • Spouses who assist in management of premises, will be employed at the premises or who hold
    joint bank accounts with applicant
  • Anyone holding a joint account with an individual who will be providing funds for this
    venture, whether the applicant, a lender or donor


Liquor License Application Accompanying Documents

Aside from the application and the personal questionnaires you will also need to provide a few accompanying documents.

Notice of Publication – Time Sensitive

The first notice of publication must be published within 10 days of the filing of the application. The original publication notice must be submitted to the Authority within 15 days of receipt.

Basically, you have 10 days after filing your application to notify the community of your intentions by publishing a notice in a local paper.

Proof of Citizenship

Applicant’s Statement

Electronic Fingerprinting

All sole proprietors, all partners in a partnership or LLP, all LLC members or corporate officers (this differs based on how many shareholders are involved) must be fingerprinted.

Anyone currently licensed by the State Liquor Authority does not need to be fingerprinted.

The fee for electronic fingerprinting is $102.25.

Penal Bond

Submit a penal bond, form L-9, in the sum of $1,000, issued by any qualified surety company authorized to execute such bonds in the State of New York.

• IMPORTANT: The bond MUST have the premises name and address typed EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS ON THE APPLICATION.

• Altered or handwritten bonds are not acceptable (i.e.: whiteouts, typeovers).

• The expiration date on the bond must indicate only the year of expiration of the license.

• The applicant MUST SIGN THE BOND.


Contracts to buy, sell or lease the premises must be supplied.


Photos, at least 5 x 7 and no Polaroids, must be taken of the premises and submitted with your application.  These include photos of the interior and exterior of the location.  The interior photos must show every square inch of the premises.

These photos may be submitted electronically.  If printed photos are submitted they must be endorsed on the back.


  • Interior Diagram
  • Block Plot Diagram

Filing Receipt or Assumed Name Certificate

This acts as official proof of the existence of your corporate entity.

Notice of Appearance

To be filled out by any individual that you paid to assist you in the preparation or filing of the application.

Notice to Be Posted at Proposed Premises

This is the notice that you place on the front entrance of the premises in a conspicuous place so everyone can see you are attempting to obtain a liquor license.  This must be posted within 10 days of filing your application.


Here are a few important resources to help you in this process:

NYSLA Forms – Quick Find

On Premise Retail Application

On Premise Retail Application Instructions

Personal Questionnaire

A Word of Caution

Please be advised that this is only a broad overview of the process of filling out and submitting your liquor license application.

Rules tend to change and differ depending on the location of the proposed premises.

It is highly recommended that you contact an attorney that specializes in liquor license law in order to ensure that this process be executed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Adrian Hunte, the creator of this website, formerly served as General Counsel to the New York State Liquor Authority and has extensive experience dealing with the Liquor Board on behalf of Wholesalers, Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers in New York State.