Owning a bar can be a profitable business, but many people do not know where to begin to get one up and running. Every State is a little different, but here are some suggestions on how to go about opening up a bar in Illinois.
The biggest thing you’ll need is a liquor license. Any business that sells alcoholic beverages is required to obtain a liquor license in Illinois. Lucky for you, we’ve previously published a blog post on our website that details the steps you need to take to obtain a liquor license in Illinois.
You must obtain a local liquor license before you can obtain your State license, so contact your local government first. Each municipality will have different restrictions, requirements and applications for their licenses.
An Illinois Retail Liquor License currently costs $750. When you apply for your State license, you will also need to provide a photocopy of your local liquor license, Sales Tax number/Illinois Business Tax number, and Federal Employer Identification Number. You’ll also need to provide a certificate of insurance.
Once you obtain your liquor license, you’ll now need liquor. Now, that seems obvious, but there are requirements from the State about where you can purchase your alcohol. Under State law, liquor retailers can only purchase alcohol from an Illinois-licensed distributor. If you purchase your alcohol from a unlicensed distributor, you could face a fine, suspension or revocation of your liquor license.
Once you’ve obtained your license and liquor, you will need to display certain signs in your establishment. The State of Illinois requires all liquor retailers to display a government warning sign about the dangers of drinking while pregnant, their liquor license, and their Illinois Business Tax certificate. Additionally, many on-premise liquor retailers are also required to have signage denoting that they prohibit firearms in their establishment and post a human trafficking notice.
Other signage may also be required by your local government such as a “Proof of Age” sign or your local liquor license. You should talk to your municipality to find out the specific requirements for where you operate.
Depending on the type of bar you’re opening, you may need to apply for other licenses as well. For instance, if your bar will also contain a brewery, you will need a Brewer’s Class License and fill out an application for a Brewer’s Warehouse. If you’re manufacturing any other types of alcohol in your establishment, you will need a license for that as well. There are also specialty licenses you’ll need if your bar is in a nontraditional location. You can view the full list of specialty applications at the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s website.
Accel Entertainment has worked with bars throughout Illinois to improve their business with video gaming. And our dedicated Relationship Managers will also help you navigate the complex regulations surrounding liquor licenses and any other video gaming regulations.