The City of Chicago is currently in Phase Four: "Gradually Resume." Many City services have adjusted hours or locations and may require health screens prior to entering their physical
spaces. Please call ahead or visit any department's website to get additional details, or visit chicago.gov/covid-19.
Due to COVID-19, effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, all Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) licensing and permits will be conducted virtually/online and offices will be closed to the public until further notice. This includes the following locations:
· BACP Administrative Offices, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 805
· Small Business Center, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 800
BACP will continue processing business licenses, where applicable, online or over the phone. Please visit www.chicagobusinessdirect.org or call 312-74-GOBIZ. Learn more about how to use Chicago Business Direct. Please allow for extra time as BACP staff are working hard to keep City services going under this disruption.
Effective October 1, 2020 and until further notice, establishments with a Tavern or Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity license can sell alcohol for on-site or off-site consumption until 1:00 am and may remain open until 1:30 am. Establishments with a Package Goods license must continue to cease alcohol sales at 9:00 pm)
Opening a business that requires a liquor license can be a rewarding endeavor. The City of Chicago is committed to assisting you through the process and helping you succeed. Obtaining a liquor license is a comprehensive process that involves both community input and facilities inspections. Whether you are looking to start a grocery store, restaurant, bar, nightclub, or are ready to buy or expand a business, this information will provide you with the basics you need to get started and help you make the right decisions.
The first step in applying for a liquor license is to meet with a BACP business consultant to determine what type of license is required and if there are any restrictions based on your business location. The consultant will guide you through the entire application process.
You can make an appointment online or by calling 312.74.GOBIZ/ 312.744.6249.
The liquor license process is thorough to ensure that only responsible business owners are granted the privilege of obtaining a liquor license. Applicants are required to provide detailed information on ownership and business finances. Establishments must also undergo and pass inspections from several city departments, including the Departments of Health, Fire and Buildings.
Neighborhood sentiment is also taken into consideration; your alderman and each legal registered voter within 250 feet of a proposed liquor license establishment is notified when an application is filed.
In some areas of the City it may not be possible to obtain a liquor license due to restrictions such as "dry precincts" or moratorium areas that prohibit the issuance of additional packaged goods and consumption on premises licenses. It is also important to note that liquor licenses can not be issued to an establishment within 100 ft. of a school, church, hospital, home for the aged, or library.
The City of Chicago does not regulate the practice of BYOB. However, businesses that wish to engage in the practice of BYOB, are still responsible for ensuring that all laws and ordinances concerning the consumption of alcohol on their premises are followed. This includes, but is not limited to, making sure minors are not consuming alcohol on the premises and protecting against customers being over served or over consuming.
Whether you are starting a new business, interested in buying a business, or making changes to your existing business, your success is dependent on doing the proper research prior to making any commitments.
The City has developed a customer-oriented case management approach to guide applicants through the application process. A case manager works closely with applicants in filing applications and makes sure they understand all of the responsibilities of a licensed liquor establishment in the City of Chicago. Once an application has been paid for, the City is committed to making a decision on license issuance within 90 days.
For ordinance reference please see The Chicago Municipal Code, Chapters 4-60.
Chicago's Liquor License Plan of Operation
Classes of Liquor Licenses
Late Hour Liquor License Application Process
Liquor License Eligibility
Liquor License Inspections
Liquor License Restrictions and Moratorium
Required Documents for Liquor License Application
Steps in the Liquor License Application Process
Top Tips for Liquor Licenses
Restaurant License Inspection Status
Requirements for Conceal and Carry Signage