Legal Assistance For Chicago, Illinois Liquor License Applications
Whether you will be opening a restaurant, bar/tavern, or nightclub, the Law Office of Nir Basse has vast experience in the complicated process of securing a liquor license in Chicago and the surrounding Chicagoland area. The Liquor Licensing and Inspection process requires many questions to be answered, and we can do just that.
After the initial “how to obtain a liquor license” question, you might be wondering, “why hire a lawyer when I am given access to a BACP consultant from the City of Chicago?” These “consultants” are actually city employees who do not work for you, meaning that they do not have your best interest in their job description. While this process can be accomplished without an attorney, it can also include significant delays, ungodly amounts of time at city hall, and other city agency frustrations. When you are a client of Nir Basse Law, the only time you are required to go downtown is to do fingerprinting, and that is it. By becoming our client, we can guarantee that you are our first priority, and will make sure that what we do is in your best interest. Our office stresses relationship building over one-time representation.
Our services include providing all the necessary tools and information to help your establishment succeed. We review your business plan, help form your company, work with investors and help to negotiate a lease or real estate contract in conjunction with the liquor license application. We help you to obtain both the Illinois liquor license and municipal licenses required for operation. Without both, you will not be able to order liquor from state licensed distributors. Clients receive assistance in obtaining: Restaurant Licenses with Incidental Liquor Licenses, Tavern Licenses, Sidewalk Cafe Licenses, Patio Licenses, Late-Hour licenses, and any other related licenses. Our ability to understand the clients’ needs and goals allows us to establish a foundation that can often prevent issues from arising in the future. After receiving your license, we advise you on how to remain compliant with relevant rules and laws of the licensing agencies. We will work with your neighborhood, community groups and local politicians to assure the establishment is welcomed in the community.
With location being the biggest factor when it comes to obtaining a liquor license, our firm is equipped with knowledge of the best real estate for obtaining a liquor license. We save you time by only looking at properties that can be licensed. There are “vote-dry” precincts in which the community has voted against alcohol sales of any kind, and existing licenses have to close. Additionally, some location issues, such as moratoriums, are two straight line blocks throughout the city that prohibit the issuance of a new package good license, tavern license, or both. However, if the establishment has incidental service of liquor licenses, they are not affected. We are also able to discuss issues that would need to be brought up with a potential landlord right off the bat. These types of issues include contingencies in cases where licenses are unable to be secured and rent abatement if construction of licensing is a lengthy process.
After picking out a location, you need to pass all inspections. We will provide a checklist to prepare for Fire, Health and BACP inspections. You are also required to take a food sanitation course, as well as an alcohol server course as part of the licensing process.
The entire process can take 75-120 days depending on numerous variables such as: the city’s efficiency, whether or not all proper documentation is present, if any issues arise, or small matters in regards to the documents. After the completion of the application, there is still a chance that you can be denied.
The community can have a say on the issuance of your liquor license. For basic licenses, the community is notified by a publication and a notice is posted on the establishment’s window. Community members then have the right to write letters to the BACP to either support or object. If enough letters are written, the alderman will give heed to any overwhelming objections. Licenses have been known to be denied on arbitrary thresholds such as: “deleterious impact on the community” or an “undue concentration of liquor licenses in the area”. Late hour licenses will always require and cause community feedback.
Your application may also be denied if the City Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has any issues or concerns.
Fortunately for you, these are all things we are able to help with. The liquor license appeal will cost $125 to file with the city, and will give us an opportunity to negotiate with the city to resolve any outstanding issues. We then work with the City’s Attorney (also known as the Corporation Counsel), or take it to a hearing if we can’t agree with the city on a resolution.
Another service that we offer is changing ownership and transferring of liquor licenses. The cost of these licenses can vary between $250- $4,400 depending on the service required. Additional legal fees will also apply. Contact the Law Office of Nir Basse for a pricing consultation.
Lawyer for Liquor License Violations
Our law firm can provide you with invaluable legal advice and assistance if your premises receive summonses from the police department, the Illinois State Liquor Authority or other city of Chicago and state agencies. We will also strive to prepare you for the future. Through our law enforcement and legal experience, you can be sure that there will be future visits by these agencies, and one needs to be prepared for any of these surprise inspections. More violations could mean a large civil penalty, the loss of a liquor license or even worse – the permanent closure of your premises or business.
Common violations include: selling alcohol to a minor, operating with the wrong license (operating as a tavern when you are a restaurant), failing to report a crime committed, food sanitation violations, and fire code/building code violation. In dealing with a violation, we first have a Remediation Conference, where your attorney (corporations are now required to have counsel) meets with a city representative to exchange information and seek a resolution. If a resolution cannot be reached, the matter is set for a hearing/ negotiation where it is treated like an appeal process. If nothing is resolved yet again, a hearing date is set before an administrative law judge.
Liquor License Laws To Be Aware Of
Happy Hour Laws: These are state laws (though enforced by both city and state) that were essentially created to prevent over pouring and over intoxication. They basically prohibit promotions and giveaways of liquor. We will provide a list of all laws and explain them to clients.
Cork-and-Carry Law: Allows patrons to leave a restaurant with the unfinished portion of a bottle of wine so long as corked and bagged.
Illinois Liquor Licensing and Dram Shop Liability Laws
We will make you aware of all the issues that may arise from these rules and regulations depending on the nature of your business. We also provide expediters (for building dept. issues such as occupancy placards), artists (for floor plan renderings), insurance carriers, and other industry professionals to make the process faster and more cost efficient.
Please contact the Law Office of Nir Basse for more information if: you are a City of Chicago business looking to obtain a liquor license; you need a temporary license for a fundraiser or other special event; you need a clear sense of your establishment’s potential liability; you are facing violations related to liquor licensing or sales in the City of Chicago or anywhere in the Chicago land area; or are curious about the liquor license cost.
A few of our Liquor Licensing Clients Include: