New Liquor License

Applicants for new liquor licenses and existing licensees who seek to transfer a license to a new location or owner must complete both Colorado State and City and County of Denver applications.  The application process is handled through the Department of Excise and Licenses.

How to Get a Liquor License

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

 

If you need assistance creating your business, contact the Denver Office of Economic Development or visit their website for more information.

A Zone Use Permit is required before obtaining a liquor license. 

A use permit is a document granting the applicant/owner of a lot, building, or structure permission for the requested use of the land. "Use" can be defined as any activity, occupation, business or operation transacted in a building or on a lot/tract of land.

You can use the resources on the Internet to plan ahead before you lease or buy property and before you apply for your business license.  Follow the steps below to learn more about the approved zone uses for the address where you want to locate your business.  Start on the Find Your Zoning page.
  1. Enter the desired address.  Click Search.
  2. Note the Zone District.
  3. Click on the + to Expand for more information. 
  4. Note the Neighborhood Context.
  5. Click on the link for the Zoning Code or in Former Chapter 59.
  6. Click on the Article # for the Neighborhood Context noted above.
  7. Open the document and scroll to the "Use" tables at the bottom of the document.
  8. Find the "Use" category in the left column and the Zone District in the columns to the right.
  9. The code in the intersecting square represents the permitted use.  (There is a key to the codes at the top of every page.)
Ultimately, the zone use permit for your business license must be approved and issued by the Zoning department.  Learn more about the Denver Zoning Code or visit the Zoning Office.
 
Office Hours and Location
General Hours:  8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Webb Municipal Office Building
201 W. Colfax Avenue, 2nd Floor

 

Phone
All City Services:  (720) 913-1311
General:  (720) 865-3000
 
Email
 

Duplicate documentsApplication forms and business entity documents are required for the applications process.  All documents must be submitted in duplicate – one copy for the City of Denver and the original copy for the State of Colorado.  Documents must be printed in black ink or typewritten.  Photocopies are accepted.

 All documents should be submitted to the Department of Excise and Licenses.

 Application Documents

  • Colorado Liquor Retail License Application (The Colorado application also serves as the City and County of Denver's application)
  • Sales Tax License
  • Right of Possession Document (Lease or Deed)
  • Occupancy Permit which may be obtained from the Denver Fire Department
  • Plot Plan and detailed sketch of the perimeter and interior of the premises.  The floor plan drawing is to be on 8 1/2 by 11 inches with dimensions included.  The diagram does not have to be to scale, but must accurately reflect the area to be licensed, including depictions of the following:
    • Exterior areas showing control of the licensed premises (fences, walls, doors, gates, etc)
    • A diagram for each floor plan, outlined in red to indicate the boundary (including external and internal walls, doors, fences, gates, and the like)The diagram must identify the kitchen area if the applicant is applying for a Hotel and Restaurant class liquor license.  The diagram of the kitchen must include the range, refrigerator, sinks, dishwashers, and other industrial equipment.
    • Location of the proposed licensed premises designating where alcoholic beverages will be sold, served, distributed or consumed
  • If the building does not exist at the time the license is applied for, the applicant must submit an architect's drawing of the building to be constructed
  • A list of equipment if the applicant is applying for a Tavern class liquor license and the proposed premises does not have a kitchen area
  • Financial Questionnaire 
  • Individual History Form 
  • Cabaret License Application if any form of entertainment is being offered

Fingerprints for the following:

Additional Documentation by Form of Business Entity

Corporate Applicants

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • A current Certificate of Good Standing
  • A certificate of Authorization (if applicant is a foreign corporation)
  • A list of all Officers and Directors and Members and Stockholders of the Parent Corporation who own 10% or more of the applicant's entity.  (The list must designate one person as the "principal officer")
  • A Trade Name Certificate, if applicable
  • Current Corporate minutes authorizing application for a liquor and/or cabaret license

 Limited Liability Company Applicants

  • Articles of Organization
  • A current Certificate of Good Standing
  • Operating Agreement
  • A certificate of Authority (if the applicant is a foreign company)
  • A Trade Name Certificate, if applicable
  • Identification of its licensed premises manager

Sole Proprietorship Applicants

  • Trade Name Affidavit, if applicable

 

Application Fee:

City - $1,000.00 made payable to Manager of Finance

State - $1,025.00 made payble to Colorado Department of Revenue

For Concurrent Review:

State - $1,125.00

An applicant for a new liquor license may request the local licensing authority to approve concurrent review of the application by the state. Concurrent review allows the state licensing authority to receive and review the application earlier in the process. Such review will be approved only when the application documents are complete, i.e., when the public hearing is set.

Colorado Bureau of Investigations Fingerprinting:  $38.50 per person who owns at least  10% of the business entity

 License Fees:

Determined by the class of license

Fees must be paid with certified funds.  

  • A public hearing is scheduled once all other requirements are complete
  • An area is designated around the proposed location from which residents and business owners/managers can sign petitions and testify at the public hearing
  • A sign is posted at the premises of the proposed liquor license for at least twenty (days) prior to the hearing. 
  • The posting sign must follow these guidelines:
    • Be white, sturdy, and measure 22 inches wide by 26 inches high with letters not less than one inch high
    • Indicate the type of license, the date and time of the hearing, the name, and address of the licensee and any partners or officers of the licensee
    • Be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises so that it is plainly visible and legible to the public
    • Contain a map of the designated area
    • Contents to be included on the posting sign will be established by the Department of Excise and Licenses.
  • Registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs), public newspapers, the City Council and the Police District are notified of the application and public hearing
  • Petitions are circulated in support and against the proposed liquor license.  Read more about petitions.  
  • Public Hearing is held
  • Final decision is issued by the Director of Excise and Licenses

 

Read more about public hearings.  

After the public hearing is approved, the applicant will receive an inspection card.  Inspections and signatures are required from the following agencies:

  • Development Services (720) 865-2982
  • Denver Fire Department (720) 913-3409
  • Environmental Health    (720) 865-5401
  • Department of Excise and Licenses (720) 865-2756 (Last inspection - Schedule when all other inspections have been completed.)

Once your inspections are completed, bring the signed card to the Department of Excise and Licenses office.  Your license will be issued when the following actions are taken: 

  1. All documents required for the license are complete and submitted to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses office
  2. The background check is approved for each person that is fingerprinted
  3. All fees are paid in full
  4. All approvals are given by the state and local offices.

NOTE:  You are encouraged to stay in touch with the Department of Excise and LIcenses during your application process as each step can vary from the general steps described herein depending upon your own particular circumstances.


State Statutes

Municipal Code

Denver Revised Municipal Code

Chapter 6 - Alcohol

Fees:  Chapter 32

Plan Extra Time!

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Inspections and paperwork can take longer than you expect.  Plan extra time to get your license.

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