Liquor License Restrictions and Moratoriums

The City of Chicago is divided into a variety of zoning districts that reflect the diversity of neighborhood uses. Each zoning district has different regulations regarding the type of business activities that are permitted. It is imperative that you check the zoning requirements of your proposed business location carefully. A case manager will check the zoning classification of your proposed business location.

If you have identified a business location, you may check the zoning classification through the interactive zoning map through the Zoning Ordinance Administration website.

Dry Wards
The Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934 permits voters in any precinct in the City of Chicago to vote an entire precinct “dry” through a local option referendum. If a precinct has been voted “dry,” no liquor licenses can be issued. Please check with the case manager to determine if your proposed location is “dry” or click link above for map.

Proximity to Churches, Schools, Homes for the Aged
Licenses for the retail sale of alcoholic liquor will not be issued for establishments within 100 feet of any church (some exceptions to this rule exist pertaining to locations near churches), school (other than an institution of higher learning), hospital, or home for the aged or indigent. Distances are measured in several ways: the distance from a church is measured from the property line of the licensed premises to the nearest part of any building used for worship services or educational programs; the distance from a school is measured from the property line of the school to the property line of the premises to be licensed. Streets, alleys and public ways are included in the measurements mentioned above.

Proximity to Libraries
Licenses for the retail sale of alcohol will not be issued to any establishment within 100 feet of any library, with the exception of the main and regional libraries.

Proximity to Other Taverns
No new tavern licenses can be issued to any location that is within 400 feet of existing tavern business in certain zoning districts.  This prohibition does not apply to restaurants, hotels offering restaurant services, or not-for-profit clubs.

Liquor Moratorium Districts
The Chicago City Council has passed a series of ordinances restricting the issuance of liquor licenses in various locations throughout the City. These restrictions may apply to licenses for consumption on premises, taverns, private social clubs, and stores selling package goods. Restaurant services are generally not subject to these restrictions.

The moratorium ordinances also significantly restrict the transfer of existing liquor establishments to new owners. Presently, there are six limited exceptions in the liquor ordinance that permit existing locations in a moratorium to legally be transferred. The following transfers are permitted:

  • Between spouses;
  • Between parents and children;
  • An heir of the prior licensee by interstate succession or a will;
  • Any shareholder who already held shares prior to the creation of the moratorium area;
  • Any person acquiring less than five percent of the shares of a corporate licensee;
  • Any other person who is acquiring the licensed business by purchase, if that person can obtain the consent of over 51% of the legal voters registered within 500 feet of the premises.

If the above exceptions do not apply to you, the transfer of a license may only be approved if the local alderman introduces an ordinance to lift the moratorium.  Please see a business consultant for petition forms and specific details.

Consumption On Premises Moratorium
Date Ward Ordinance
01/27/2021 26 O2021-457
11/16/2020 38 O2020-5618
5/20/2020 26 O2020-2671
12/18/2019 42 O2019-9408
07/24/19 21 O2019-5573
05/29/19 50 O2019-3848
05/29/19 50 O2019-3859
04/10/19 03 & 30 O2019-2706
9/20/18 25 O2018-6049
6/27/18 39 O2018-4042
3/28/18 25 O2018-909
3/28/18 47 O2018-171
1/17/18 02 O2017-8596
1/17/18 08 O2017-8591
12/13/17 40 O2017-7804
11/8/17 42 O2017-7143
11/8/17 02 O2017-7094
11/8/17 48 O2017-7081
9/6/17 25 O2017-5503
7/26/17 12 O2017-4873
6/28/17 42 O2017-3897
6/28/17 42 O2017-3893
6/28/17 39 O2017-3866
5/24/17 28 O2017-3250
4/19/17 42 O2017-2009
4/19/17 42 O2017-1987
3/29/17 36 (29,30,38) O2017-937
3/29/17 42 O2017-935
3/29/17 25 O2017-873
Packaged Goods Moratorium
Date Ward Ordinance
01/27/2021 26 O2021-457
12/16/2020 12 O2020-6189
12/16/2020 42 O2020-6170
11/16/2020 38 O2020-5618
11/16/2020 09 O2020-4731
09/09/2020 44 O2020-4023
09/09/2020 50 O2020-4123
6/23/2020 26 O2020-2671
6/23/2020 50 O2020-2672
1/15/2020 42 O2020-117
07/24/19 21 O2019-5573
07/24/19 8 O2019-5566
05/29/19 37 O2019-3847
05/29/19 50 O2019-3859
04/10/19 03 & 30 O2019-2706
04/10/19 03 & 30 O2019-2706
12/12/18 01 O2018-8108
11/14/18 21 O2018-8016
6/27/18 39 O2018-4042
5/25/18 44 O2018-3201
5/25/18 39 O2018-3200
4/18/18 17 O2018-2382
3/28/18 33 O2018-915
3/28/18 21 O2018-854
3/28/18 47 O2018-171
12/13/17 02 O2017-8596
12/13/17 08 O2017-8591
12/13/17 40 O2017-7804
11/8/17 42 O2017-7141
11/8/17 36 O2017-7101
11/8/17 02 O2017-7094
11/8/17 48 O2017-7081
10/11/17 42 O2017-6265
10/11/17 09 O2017-6207
9/6/17 49 O2017-5545
9/6/17 41 O2017-5542
9/6/17 25 O2017-5503
7/26/17 12 O2017-4879
6/28/17 39 O2017-3866
5/24/17 28 O2017-3250
4/19/17 25 O207-2013
4/19/17 19 O2017-1972

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