Types of Liquor Licenses Issued in New York

If one wishes to obtain a liquor license, he or she must be a minimum of 21 years of age.

A seller’s permit must be obtained through the NYS Liquor Authority.

Here are the various various license classes and types of liquor licenses offered in New York State.


Ball Park Beer

Athletic fields and stadiums must possess this type of license before patrons can consume beer. This includes racetracks and baseball fields, but not educational institutions.


Bar and Grill Liquor License

Any establishment which has a lounge or bar must obtain a Class C liquor license. This license permits the sale of alcohol to those of legal drinking age in the particular city and state. Those consuming the liquor must be seated in the establishment in the bar, restaurant or lounge. Cost of this license is based on factors such as the location of the business and the amount of revenue it is expected to generate.


Catering Establishment

Banquet hall, dining hall providers and others in the catering industry must obtain this license if they wish to offer beer, liquor and wine for a particular function. The general public must not be admitted to this function and this license is only good for this particular type of function.


Club Beer

This license doesn’t apply to nightclubs or private bars. A club is defined as an organization incorporated using the ‘Benevolent Orders’ law or the ‘Not-for-Profit Corporation’ law. The building must be used EXCLUSIVELY for the club while the owner, occupant or lessee cannot use it for other purposes. Members and guests may consume beer on premises and the club must appoint an ABC office who acts as a liaison with the SLA.


Club Liquor

The definition of a club is described above. Beer, wine and liquor must be consumed on-premises by members and guests only and an ABC officer must be appointed.


Club Wine

Similar to club beer, this license lets club members and guests consume beer or wine on premises. An ABC officer must be designated by the club.


Drug Beer/Wine Product

Possession of this license allows a bonafide drug store to sell beer for use off-premises. In addition, a wine is defined as any beverage which contains wine along with added juice, carbon dioxide, citric acid, flavoring, sugar and water. This wine produce may not contain more than six percent alcohol by volume.


Drug Store License

This type of license is needed by bonafide pharmacies which wish to sell beer for use off-premises.


Eating Place Beer License

A license of this type allows for consumption of beer on-premises and is appropriate for businesses where food is prepared and beer ales are incidental to this, rather than the prime source of revenue. With this license, beer can be sold for consumption off-premises.


Grocery Beer/Wine Product

The same as the license for drug beer/wine product (above), but issued to a grocer.


Grocery Store Beer

A licensed issued to bonafide grocery stores allowing the store to sell beer for consumption off premises.


Hotel Beer

Hotels are defined as buildings used for the lodging and regular feeding of patrons. In an apartment situation, if the hotel keeper provides meal in a restaurant for patrons, this type of license would be needed also. This covers both room service and sales for off-premises consumption.


Hotel Liquor

The definition of a hotel is explained above. Beer, wine and liquor may be consumed on premises and this includes room service. Beer only may be sold for consumption off of the premises. If there is no liquor store within an eight mile radius, the license holder is allowed to apply for a ‘Hotel Off-Premises’ permit. With this permit, the holder may sell wines and liquors to be consumed off-premises.


Hotel Wine

See above for definition of a hotel. This license permits the hotel to sell wine and beer for room service purposes or in a restaurant.


Liquor Store

ABC law restricts retail sales of liquor stores to wine and liquor along with corkscrews and ice. A person, corporation or other entity may only hold one of these licenses and all sales are for consumption off-premises. No beer may be sold.


Restaurant Wine

This license is for easting establishments where wine and beer aren’t the primary sources of revenue. This license allows for on-site consumption.


Retail Liquor License

Referred to as a Class A license, this permits the retailer to sell alcoholic and malt beverages along with wine. Grocery and convenience stores must have this license.


Special Events Liquor License

Anyone hosting a special event, such as a public gathering or holiday social, must obtain a special events liquor license. This permit is only valid for a specified time frame or the length of the event.


Tavern Wine

Wine and beer may be sold for consumption on-premises.


Wine Store

This type of license is for retailers who wish to only sell wine, not beer or liquor. The wine must be consumed off-premises and operates using the same basic principles as a liquor store.


Other types of licenses may also be issued.  This includes a Cabaret Liquor License, a Microbrewery License and a Supplemental Restaurant Brewer License.

The NYS Liquor Authority, or an attorney who specialized in liquor licenses, can can assist any business unsure of which type to buy.

All types of liquor licenses come with rules that must be followed.

The license will dictate when and where liquor can be sold, whether it must be in containers or opened, how much can be sold and who the beverage may be sold to.

If any part of the Alcohol Beverage Control Law (ABC Law) are broken in New York, the license may be suspended or taken away. In addition, one or more citations may be issued by the local court.

Care must be taken to ensure the proper type of liquor license is applied for and obtained.