Get a Liquor Common Consumption Area License

What is a Common Consumption Area (CCA)? 

A common consumption area (CCA) is a designated area where patrons over the age of twenty-one can drink alcoholic beverages from various liquor-licensed establishments in a common space.
A license is required to operate a common consumption area. A CCA license may only be issued to a certified promotional association for an area within an approved entertainment district.  

An application for a common consumption area license requires information about: 

  • the promotional association (the applicant); 

  • the common consumption area (the area for alcohol consumption); and  

  • the entertainment district (the area surrounding the common consumption area).  

Watch a video that covers the basics

To allow yourself plenty of time, we recommend applying at least 6 months before you want to open your common consumption area. 

 

Prepare

Step 1.Know the Rules

Read and understand the laws, rules, and regulations that apply to common consumption areas to make sure this license is right for you.

Step 2.Form your Promotional Association

A common consumption area license may only be issued to a certified promotional association. Before you apply, you will have to form a promotional association that meets the guidelines in state and local law.

What is a promotional association?(PDF, 895KB)

Step 3.Draft the plans for your Common Consumption Area

Your promotional association will need to create certain plans as part of your application. We strongly recommend that you work with professionals to ensure that your plans meet all applicable building, zoning, public health, and fire prevention requirements. 

Planning early can help you when looking for insurance, applying for permits, and gathering community support. 

What do my plans need to include?(PDF, 201KB)

Step 4.Obtain Liability Insurance

A promotional association must maintain commercial general liability insurance with a minimum limit of one million dollars ($1,000,000) combined single limit for bodily injury and property damage for each occurrence and name the City and County of Denver as an additional insured. 

You will need to submit your current certificate of insurance when you apply for your license.

Step 5.Apply for City Permits

Based on the plans for your common consumption area, you may need to apply for City permits or authorizations. Examples include right of way permits, zoning permits, and fire and building permits. 

Step 6.Obtain Evidence of Community Support

All applications must include evidence of community support from at least one eligible neighborhood organization.  

Your community will likely want to understand your plans before they provide their support. 

What counts as evidence of community support?(PDF, 897KB)

Apply

Step 1.Gather all your required documents. 

You’ll need: 

  • site plan for the common consumption area. Outline the boundaries of the proposed common consumption area in red. Label all attached liquor licensees and any businesses included in the common consumption area. 
  • map showing the location of the common consumption area. Label the boundaries of the entertainment district and show where the common consumption area will be.  
  • If you are proposing a new entertainment district, a detailed area map. This map should include the following information about the proposed entertainment district:  
  • The boundaries of the proposed entertainment district outlined in red; 
  • The total acreage of the proposed entertainment district; and 
  • The name, address, license type, and square footage of each liquor licensed premises in the entertainment district. Do not include temporary modifications. 
  • Proof of possession of the premises. Proof of possession and evidence of permission authorizing alcohol consumption from any non-liquor licensed premises located within the common consumption area. This could be a lease, deed, or other documents showing that you are allowed to occupy the space being used as the common consumption area.  
  • Proof of liability insurance. A certificate of insurance meets this requirement. 
  • Evidence of community support. This could be a letter, a good neighbor agreement, or other document indicating support or non-opposition from an eligible neighborhood organization. You may submit more than one document. The document(s) must be authorized by an officer, director, or agent of the eligible neighborhood organization(s). 
  • A complete parking and transportation plan. 
  • A complete health and sanitation plan. 
  • A complete security and admission control plan. 
  • Any required City permits or authorizations. Examples include right of way permits, zoning permits, and fire and building permits. You may submit either an approved permit or a receipt for your permit application. 

Step 2.Complete your Application

Fill out the Common Consumption Area Application(PDF, 304KB).

Step 3.Submit your Application

Submit the complete application with all required documents. All materials must be legible. Legal documents included as part of the application must be properly signed and executed. 

You can submit your application via email or you can make an appointment to submit your application in person. 

The review process, public hearing, and permit review can take time. We recommend applying at least 6 months before you want to open your common consumption area. 

Step 4.We will send you an invoice

We will send an invoice to the email address you provide on your application. You will owe a total of $1,000.00. This includes: 

  • A one-time $250 application fee for the promotional association certification 
  • A one-time $250 application fee for the common consumption area license 
  • The annual $250 promotional association certification fee 
  • The annual $250 common consumption area license fee 
     

Step 5.Pay the required fees

You may pay your required fees online, in person, or over the phone. 

  • Visa, MasterCard, and Discover Card are all accepted. 
  • Pay your fees in person with cash, check, or credit card: 
  • You can make in-person payments at the Wellington Web Building, located at 201 W Colfax, Denver, CO 80202. Metered street parking is available. 
  • The Payments and Cashiering desk is located on the second floor. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. 
  • To pay with a check, make the check payable to the "Manager of Finance."   
  • Pay your fees over the phone with a credit card. 
  • Call the Payments and Cashiering desk at (720) 865-2780. If there is no answer, please leave a phone number where they can call you back. 
  • The Payments and Cashiering desk is open Tuesday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. 

Application fees are non-refundable. If your license is not approved, we will refund the certification and license fees. 

Step 6.City Application Review

First we will review your application to make sure it is complete. This initial review usually takes about 7-10 business days

We will then review your application to ensure it meets the standards set out in state and local law. This review may take 2-3 weeks

Step 7.Public Hearing

All common consumption area applications must undergo a public hearing.  

We will e-mail you when your application is set for a hearing. Your notice packet will include a date and time for the hearing, any posting requirements, and information about the hearing process. 

The hearing will be scheduled at least 60 days after the date we receive a complete application. The hearing process is complete when the Director of Excise and Licenses issues a Final Decision. 

Learn more about Public Hearings

Step 8.Entertainment District Review 

If you are applying for a common consumption area license where there is no existing entertainment district, City Council will need to approve the new district. After your public hearing, we will submit the request to City Council and notify you of the timeline. This process takes approximately 6-8 weeks

If you are applying for a common consumption area license in an existing entertainment district, City Council will not need to approve your application. Instead, we will verify your location within the existing entertainment district. This process takes approximately one week

Step 9.City Permit Review 

After we complete the entertainment district review, we will do a final permit review to ensure that all your permits have been approved. The length of this process will depend on the number of permits included with your application.  

Step 10.Complete your inspections

Once all permits have been approved, we will e-mail you an inspection notice. This notice will list the agencies that must inspect your common consumption area. Schedule your inspections by calling the number(s) listed on your notice. 

Inspecting agencies will determine whether you pass or fail each required inspection. You must pass all inspections listed on your notice before we can issue your license. 

You can check your inspection status in our online Permitting and Licensing Center.   

Once you have passed all your inspections, let us know by e-mailing  EXLApplications@denvergov.org. Please include your Business File Number (BFN) in your email.  

Step 11.We will issue your License  

We will send your license to you via e-mail. We can mail your license upon request. 

Please read the “Stay Compliant” tab for important information about your new license. 

If you start an application and do not finish it within a year, the application will be closed administratively.

Stay Compliant

Step 1.You must distribute and post your license 

You must provide a copy of the common consumption area license to each attached licensee.  

Each attached licensee must display the common consumption area license prominently next to their liquor license. 

Step 2.You must maintain your insurance policy and notify us of any changes 

Your promotional association must maintain commercial general liability insurance with a minimum limit of one million dollars ($1,000,000) combined single limit for bodily injury and property damage for each occurrence and name the City and County of Denver as an additional insured. All policies must be kept in full force and effect for the term of the license. 

If you make changes to your insurance policy, you must notify us within 72 hours of the change.  

Your license could be suspended or revoked if you suspend, void, or cancel an insurance policy. 

Step 3.You must renew your license and certification every year 

Business licenses expire annually. It is unlawful to operate a common consumption area with an expired license. You must submit a Common Consumption Area Renewal Application [link to renewal app] before your license expires. 

Learn more about renewing your common consumption area license.  

Step 4.You must notify the City of any changes to your promotional association or common consumption area 

It is important to keep your license up to date.  

Learn more about keeping your license up to date.

Step 5.You must maintain your community support  

Be sure to follow any conditions of community support and any conditions that appear on the face of your license. 

If you do not maintain community support from an eligible neighborhood organization(s), you could lose your license.