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Opening a Bar Calls for a Lot of Documentation

When setting up a new bar, it's easy to let the obvious concerns outshine some of the smaller aspects of the process. You'll certainly need to fill out a liquor license application and submit a fee, but there's a lot more to it than just a few bits of paperwork. Let's dig into some of those details right now.

Zoning Information

A liquor license cannot be granted to an establishment that isn't properly zoned to serve alcohol. You'll need to make copies of the documents you're required to display as a commercial establishment, and you may also have to acquire additional documentation from your local zoning commission. It's likely that you'll also have to provide a copy of the building permit for your location. In order to speed up the process, it's a good idea to ask someone from the liquor control board exactly what the full list of zoning documents is that will be required.

Criminal Background Check

Not too surprisingly, most states do not allow folks with criminal records to obtain liquor licenses. Before you have a criminal background check performed, make sure to verify where the information needs to be sent. An individual history of all the officers of the business applying for the license should also be included with the liquor license application.

Tax Documents

Also unsurprisingly, you can expect the government to want to know it'll get its cut. If you don't already have an Employer Identification Number, you'll need to apply for one through the IRS. Tax-exempt organizations may need to apply for additional paperwork attesting to this fact. If your state requires a tax permit, you'll also need to provide tax information from the state on your liquor license application.

Music License

Many venues that serve alcohol also have copyrighted music played, whether by DJs, bands, or machines. You don't have to obtain a music license when you are getting your liquor license, but it's wise to grab the music license while you're in the process of setting up everything else.

If you intend to do this at your location, you will need to acquire a music license. There are actually three different Performing Rights Organizations that license work to the public, and you may need to obtain licenses from all three to be in the clear. Blanket license costs range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the size of the venue.

Contact businesses like Arizona Liquor Industry Consultants for more information about obtaining a liquor license.