What is the Cost of a Liquor License in Chicago?

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I get this question all of the time.  The answer depends on a lot of things. For example, an applicant may qualify for one type of license, but not another. Similarly, certain licenses may be appropriate for one applicant, but not another. So, your individual circumstances can dictate how much the City will charge you.

Here's the current City of Chicago pricing list. The fee is due with the application and is nonrefundable. If the application is approved, the license fee is good for two years. All fees are subject to change:

  • Tavern Liquor License:  $4,400
  • Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity (COP-IA): $4,400
  • Package Goods Liquor License: $4,400
  • Outdoor Patio Liquor License: $1,760.00
  • Sidewalk Cafe (yearly): fee varies. Minimum $600
  • Late Hour Liquor License: $6,000

There are also several other types of liquor licenses available in Chicago. For example, caterers who serve alcohol will be required to procure a liquor license. There are also a few very specialized licenses for Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, and the airports. Not-for-Profit Clubs may apply for a different liquor license, too.

After you get a Chicago liquor license, you will also need to get a State of Illinois Liquor License. A State of Illinois Retailer's Liquor License is $500 [NOTE: on September 1, 2016, the State of Illinois raised its prices. You can read about that HERE]. However, an applicant may be required to get additional State licenses, too. 

Keep in mind that if your corporation changes officers, you must file those changes with the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. The fees vary depending on the type of change. Failure to report may result in a revocation of licenses.

Need help? Are you looking for a license outside of Chicago? We can do that too. Contact me. We'll put together an individual plan to suit your needs.

Daniel Rubinow, Principal Attorney

License Law Group

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Daniel Rubinow