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New Requirements for Special Event Liquor Permit

Special Event Liquor Permits have new added requirements. Please see Steps 3, 4 and 5 for instructions. Please Note: This could add on 1-2 weeks for obtaining all required documents. Please plan accordingly. A Special Event Liquor Permit still needs to be submitted at least 30 days in advance of the event, no exceptions.

Special Event Liquor Permit

A Special Event Liquor Permit must be applied for 30 days in advance of your event, no exceptions

Special event liquor permits the sale by the drink only of Malt, Vinous and Spirituous liquor,  or fermented malt beverages, on premises that do not hold a liquor license or is to be sold by a qualifying organization or club or arts liquor licensed premises.

Qualifying organizations include:

  • Non profit organizations
  • Social, fraternal, patriotic, political or athletic in nature (not organized for a monetary gain)
  • State Agencies
  • The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board
  • An instrumentality of a municipality or country
  • Political candidate who has filed necessary reports and statements with the Colorado Secretary of State or the Denver Clerk and Recorder

How to Apply for a Special Event Liquor Permit

By way of example, special event liquor permits are required when a qualifying organization or political candidate:

  • Has an event and wants to sell alcohol beverages
  • Has an event that is open to the public and alcohol beverages are available
  • Has an event where there is a cash bar
  • Has a public event where donations are requested
  • Has a public event where admission fees are required

  • Sandwiches or food snacks must be available at all times that alcohol beverages are being sold.
  • A special event permit may not be issued to the same applicant for more than fifteen (15) days in any one calendar year.

A Zoning Use Permit may be required when submitting a Liquor Special Event application to Excise and Licenses. 

  • A zoning 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.

Zoning Use Permit Not Required for Events Held in Public Parks/Buildings and on Public Streets or Alleys:

  • Zoning Use Permits are not required for events held in City Parks and Recreation Centers as well as other Denver Parks and Recreation Facilities, Denver International Airport, and Denver Arts and Venues Facilities, or for events that take place in the public right-of-way (public streets/alleys).
  • Events that are scheduled to take place in a public park or street should be coordinated through the Office of Special Events (“OSE”). OSE will work with the applicant and the appropriate city agencies to ensure the event checklist is tailored to address all of the City’s licensing and permitting concerns.

Events Inside a Building Already Zoned for Assembly

  • For events inside a building located on private property, we require a Zoning Use Permit to ensure the building is appropriately zoned and permitted to host a public assembly event. Click here for a list of zoning uses where events for public assembly are allowed as part of the primary permitted use.
  • Applicants can request a copy of the most current Zoning Use Permit for the subject building or space by emailing the request, including the property address, to zoning.review@denvergov.org. The most current zoning use permit may be submitted for multiple events, and does not need to be updated unless the zoning use has changed since the permit was issued.  

Events in a Building or Outdoors (Including Parking Lots) NOT Zoned for Assembly

  • For events in a building or outdoors where the subject building or land is not currently permitted by zoning for public assembly events, applicants must apply for and receive a Special Event Temporary Zoning Use Permit.  

Additionally, the applicant may need to secure a Fire Safety Permit. The Denver Fire Department will determine if a permit is needed for the liquor Special Event. If no permit is required, they will send the applicant a letter indicating such, which may be submitted in lieu of the fire permit with the Special Event liquor application to Excise and Licenses. Alternatively, if the Denver Fire Department determines a permit is required, the applicant will need to submit that permit along with the Special Event liquor application to Excise and Licenses.

  • The application packet must include the following:
  • The application (signed by President, Secretary or Political Candidate)
  • Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of State 
  • Diagrams of proposed liquor licensed area (must be outlined in RED denoting the liquor boundary). Need to also notate where posting notice will be placed.
  • Authorization documents depending on property use will be as follows:
  • Street closures require a ROW/Public Works Permit.
  • Events held in a park require a Parks and Recreation Permit.
  • Events held within the confines of a building require a Lease, Deed, or a Letter of Authorization from the property owners.
  • Zoning/Fire Requirement: Obtain a copy of the existing zone use permit if the location is zoned as an "Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment (indoor/outdoor) Assembly Hall" OR if the location is zoned anything else, secure both a Special Event Temporary Zone Use Permit and a Special Event Temporary Fire Permit. Please allow an extra 1-2 weeks to obtain these documents.

Need to know points:

  • Do not mail in Special Event Applications as customer will need to be issued their Posting Notice in person. (The document cannot be mailed)
  • Do not email in Special Event Applications as all fees will need to be received before application can be processed.
  • The application needs to be submitted at least 30 days in advance of the event, no exceptions.

Duplicate documentsApplication forms and business entity documents are required for the applications process. Documents must be printed in black ink or typewritten.  Photocopies are accepted. 

All documents are submitted to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. 

 

  • Please make sure that no staples are in the documents when submitted to the Department of Excise and Licenses.
  • Special Event Liquor Application 
  • Right of Possession Document (Lease or Deed or sub-lease or assignment of the lease or rental agreement). 
  • Diagram of premises that depicts the bar and alcohol service areas (outlined in RED). Need to also indicate where posting notice will be placed.  
  • A Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State within the past year, a nonprofit charter, or copies of reports and statements filed with the Colorado Secretary of State if a political candidate.
  • Zone Use Permit OR Special Event Temporary Zone Use Permit (if applicable)
  • Fire Special Event Permit. If no permit is required, the Denver Fire Department will send the applicant a letter indicating such, which may be submitted in lieu of the fire permit with the Special Event liquor application to Excise and Licenses. Alternatively, if the Denver Fire Department determines a permit is required, the applicant will need to submit that permit along with the Special Event liquor application to Excise and Licenses.
  • Guide for selling or distributing CBD products at Special Events

Application fee: $100.00

Licensing fee per day:

  •  Malt, Vinous, and Spirituous:  $25.00 per day
  •  3.2% Beer:  $10.00 per day

Note: Make checks payable to The Manager of Finance. 

          All credit cards are accepted with the exception of American Express.

  • The Department will review application forms and accompanying documents for accuracy and completeness. 
  • The Department will determine if the premises is already licensed and, if so, whether any exclusions apply.

             

Please bring all required items to:

Department of Excise and Licenses

201 W. Colfax Ave. #206, Denver, CO 80202

  • The Department of Excise and Licenses will be the final approver for all Special Event Liquor Permits. We no longer send to the State for their approval.
  • If the application is approved, once the posting for the Special Event Liquor Permit has been passed, the permit will be emailed to the applicant.

  • As a holder of the permit, the special event licensee must purchase liquor to be served and/or sold at the event only from a licensed wholesaler or a licensed retail liquor store.
  • A special event permit is authorized only for the benefit of the non-profit organization or political candidate who holds the permit.  Proceeds from the event must benefit the non-profit organization or the political candidate.
  • Holders of a special event permit may also employ event managers to handle the event for a fee that reasonably compensates their work.  The "fee" of an event manager may not be the revenues from the event.
  • The Director may require examination of the books and records of a special event to ensure compliance with permit obligations.

 

 

State Statutes

Colorado StatuesColorado Liquor
and Beer Laws
  

CRS 44-5-101

Plan Extra Time!

Date Icon

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

 
 
 

Colorado StatuesColorado Liquor
and Beer Laws
  

 

CRS 12-48-101

 

Date Icon

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