NY Startup Law

A businesslaw blog for New York entrepreneurs by Marc Law Associates PLLC

4 MAIN BARS TO OPENING A BAR IN NEW YORK

Opening a bar in New York City obviously requires one to obtain a liquor license. The agency that governs these licenses is the New York State Liquor Authority (“SLA”). There are several different licenses that one can apply for including but not limited to: beer license, beer and wine, etc. This post will briefly examine and explain the SLA requirements prior to issuing an  “on premise consumption license” (OPL), which is applicable to bars, except where the establishment has a dance area, which would then require a cabaret license.

FELONY CONVICTION

The biggest obstacle any applicant will face is if any member of the team has a felony conviction on his/her record. The SLA will generally not license anyone in this category. In fact, you must disclose convictions of any crime on the application, and even with a minor conviction, the SLA has the right to use any information you provide to make its decision. You can’t lie on this application since the SLA will require you to submit fingerprints before issuing a license. With the proliferation of night club incidents in New York recently, most notably the Drake vs. Chris Brown incident at WIP, which resulted in the  SLA’s  suspension of the license of the owners of Green House and WIP for “a string of violent incidents”, I think this scrutiny can only become tougher.

COMMUNITY BOARD APPROVAL

Depending on where the bar will be located, another difficult requirement is the one requiring approval of the bar’s local Community Board. Some Community Boards in the city are tougher to get approval from than others. If your bar will open in an area that is already notorious for rowdy bars and bar related police crackdowns, acquiring approval may be very ldifficult to say the least.

200 FEET OF A SCHOOL OR CHURCH

The SLA doesn’t want your establishment to be within 200 feet of a school or a place of worship. The place of worship requirement only applies to buildings exclusively used as a place of worship. So if the church is located in a store front, even if it’s next door to your bar, , it will not count towards the SLA requirement.

500 FEET OF 3 SIMILARLY LICENSED ESTABLISHMENTS

The SLA also imposes a condition whereby your establishment can’t be within 500 feet of 3 or more OPL establishments. If your location is within 500 feet of 3 establishments, the SLA will only grant you the license if it finds that granting you the license is in the public interest, and this would be after a public hearing conducted bySLA after giving the applicant and the   Community Board in the area notice to attend.

If your establishment complies with these requirements, the rest of the work is producing documents including but not limited to contracts, and financial statements to prove source of funds, along with proof of citizenship or green card, and obtaining other licenses needed for your business, which include worker’s compensation insurance, a restaurant license if you’re serving food, etc. When your application is done, send the licensing  fee to the SLA, which is currently $4,352.00 plus and application fee of $200.00,  along with all of the documents and hope for the best…

Patrick Marc, Esq

 

 

 

 

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