For restaurants, and bars especially, the liquor license is the lifeblood of the business.  It is illegal in New York to sell or even serve alcohol without one.  The process of getting a liquor license in New York City is time-consuming and difficult to navigate.  From vocal community boards to archaic legal requirements, it is important that you have an expert by your side to guide you through successfully. 

I can help you with all of the issues you will encounter over the lifetime of your liquor license, from initial applications and presentations before the Community Board to disciplinary hearings and renewals.  Services include:

  • Application
  • Site visits to flag potential issues 
  • Referrals to other necessary professionals
  • Representation before the Community Board and, if necessary, the State Liquor Authority
  • License Renewals
  • Special Permits (Catering & Events)

For guests, dining outside on a New York City street is a wonderful opportunity to relax and enjoy a meal or a glass of wine, to sit and watch the perpetual motion of people going about their lives.  For restaurants, sidewalk cafes provide additional covers, more seating options for guests, and increased visibility.

However, not all restaurants are eligible to operate a sidewalk cafe.  Zoning laws dictate where sidewalk seating is permitted as well as what kind(s) of cafe you may operate - unenclosed, small unenclosed, and enclosed.  In addition, the sidewalk must be big enough to accommodate the additional seating - there must be at least 12 feet between your property line and the curb.

If your location is eligible for a sidewalk cafe, the application process is time-consuming and complex.  Between the Department of Consumer Affairs, your neighbors and local Community Board, and other City agencies, many different parties will have a voice in whether or not your application will be approved.  All in all, it can take up to six months to get your license!

For restaurant owners interested in expanding service to the sidewalk, get an early start and contact me now to talk about your eligibility, the application process and requirements for operation.

The most important aspect of your liquor license application is getting the approval of your local Community Board.  This process can be time-consuming and immensely frustrating.  The Community Board forum provides an opportunity for the members of the neighborhood to voice their opinions and concerns about local events, including the issuance of liquor licenses.  


The process goes something like this:

You send notice to the correct Community Board at least 30 days prior to submitting your application to the State Liquor Authority.

The Community Board will then notify you of a date on which you will present your application before the committee that oversees liquor licenses (they typically meet once a month).  

Some Community Boards require you to post public notices of your intent to apply as well as submit responses to a questionnaire, which usually differ from Board to Board. (here's an example from Brooklyn CB4 - Bushwick)

Once the Board schedules you for a presentation, it is essential that you not only show up, but are thoroughly prepared to present and handle the often-intense negotiation that follows.  Board approval is crucial to your chances of actually obtaining a license.


When you hire me to represent you, I will assist you in tailoring a comprehensive presentation that suits the demands of your particular Community Board and be right by your side at the meeting.  My experience has shown me how to work with the community and negotiate for your interests - reasonably, yet powerfully.  

If you are interested in applying for one of the many different kinds of liquor licenses, or have questions about the process, contact me now.