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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 a Colorado Liquor Retail License Application. The application is submitted through the Department of Excise and Licenses.

How to Submit an Application

There are a variety of ways that you can submit your New or Renewal application to the Department of Excise and Licenses. If renewing, please make sure to include your Business File Number (BFN) with the submittal.

1.      In an effort to protect public safety, in-person customer service at Excise and Licenses is being offered by appointment only. Please visit our appointments website to make an appointment. 

2.      All license applications not available online can be submitted via email, EXLSubmit@denvergov.org, during this health crisis. Please visit our email application process page for more information on submitting email applications.

3.      You may also mail in your application with fees to:

City and County of Denver
Department of Excise and License
201 W Colfax Ave, Dept. 206
Denver, CO 80202

Make checks payable to: Manager of Finance

You may also pay for your applications online or via phone once you have submitted your application to Excise and Licenses. We will send you an invoice and you may pay virtually. Please visit our online payment process page for more information on how to submit payment for your applications.

For questions, please email licenses@denvergov.org or call 311.

Excise and Licenses will not offer fingerprinting services on site. This website offers information on fingerprinting services authorized by Colorado Applicant Background Services.

How to Get a Liquor License

A Zone User Permit is required before submitting a liquor application.

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.

 

Applying for a Zone Use Permit

 

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

developmentservices@denvergov.org

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

  • Please make sure that no staples are in the documents when submitted to the Department of Excise and Licenses.
  • Colorado Liquor Retail License Application  (The Colorado application also serves as the City and County of Denver's application)
  • Tax Check Authorization, Waiver, and Request to Release Information
  • City Tax License
  • State Tax License
  • Right of Possession Documents (Lease or Deed). The lease must be valid for at least 90 days from the date the application is submitted.
  • 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, stored, distributed or consumed
    • One diagram must have the licensed liquor area outlined in RED.
    • One diagram must have the licensed liquor area outline in BLACK.
  • 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
  • Individual History Form 
  • Cabaret License Application if any form of entertainment is being offered. 

Fingerprints for the following:

  • Excise and Licenses will fingerprint local applicants at time of application or shortly thereafter.
  • All officers and directors
  • Members and shareholders who own 10% or more of the business entity
  • Read more about Fingerprinting and Background Checks.  

Additional Documentation by Form of Business Entity

Corporate Applicants

  • Articles 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:

State - $1,550.00 fee made payable to Colorado Department of Revenue + Liquor License Fees

State - $1,650.00 fee for Concurrent Review + Liquor License Fees

State - $1,550.00 fee for Transfer of Ownership + Liquor License Fees

City -   $1,000.00 + other fees assigned at time of application

Colorado Bureau of Investigations Fingerprinting:  $38.50 per person for anyone that owns at least 10% of the business entity.

License fees will be calculated at the time the application is submitted to the City.

  • 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

  

  • Zoning Business License Inspection (720) 913-1311
  • Building Business License Inspection (720) 865-2630
  • Denver Fire Department (720) 913-3409
  • Department of Public Health and Environment (720) 913-1311
  • Department of Excise and Licenses (720) 913-1311 (Last inspection - Schedule when all other inspections have been passed.)

Notify the Department of Excise and Licenses, at licenses@denvergov.org, that you would like your license emailed to you when all of the steps below have been completed.  

  1. All documents required for the license are complete and submitted to the office.
  2. The background check, if applicable, is accepted and approved.
  3. Fees are paid in full.
  4. All required inspections, if applicable, are passed.
  5. 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

Colorado StatuesColorado Liquor
and Beer Laws
  

44-3-301

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.