500 Foot Rule Hearings

Looking for a checklist of factors that help or hurt on-premises liquor license applications for bars, restaurants and clubs?  While this list is not comprehensive, it will give you a good idea of some of the things the Liquor Authority will look at during a 500 Foot Hearing.

Factors that favor issuing a liquor license

  • Extent of food service
  • Diversity of food, social and entertainment options added to neighborhood
  • Security guards to prevent undesirable activities
  • Management experience, especially restaurant and bar industry experience
  • Availability of off-street parking; premises has private parking on-site
  • No DJ or live music
  • Restaurants are preferred over nightclubs
  • No late night outdoor seating
  • No outside bar service (food only) on patio, sidewalk or deck
  • Lack of opposition by municipality and community; familiarity of municipality with operations of applicant
  • History of premises serving alcohol
  • Nearby theatre district or cultural district
  • Letters of support from area businesses, municipality and business associations
  • Difference in style/genre from other nearby licensed premises
  • Offering locally sourced food and beverages strengthening the local economy
  • History of working with municipality and residents to address concerns
  • Well-trained staff and not all under 25 employees
  • Your target clients are professional, mature clientele
  • Alcohol awareness training for owners and employees
  • Owner-operated business, hands-on involvement in daily operations
  • Owner-occupied building with investment in the neighborhood
  • Multiple managers to have well-managed operators at all times
  • Tax revenue; job creation
  • Tourism destination, attract tourists and business travelers
  • History of active participation in neighborhood associations and supporting community groups

Factors against issuing a liquor license

  • Risk of increased disturbance and unruly or disorderly activity
  • Detrimental impact on noise, traffic and parking on the block or in the neighborhood
  • Adverse liquor license history of applicant
  • Adverse liquor license history of premises
  • Connection to “bad” principals or establishments
  • Other licensed premises owned by same principals – lack of attention, inadequate supervision when trying to manage multiple places simultaneously
  • History of trash and debris left outside premises
  • Nearby schools, churches and day care centers
  • Oversaturation of on-premises establishments in the neighborhood
  • Police attention to the area because of fighting, drugs, or other crime
  • Dancing/dance floor
  • Multiple bars or clubs in the premises
  • Failure to detail why the business would be different from other existing businesses in the area

Some of these issues will be taken from the application itself.  An applicant should take the opportunity to address as many of these issues as possible in its public interest statement and a written statement submitted at the 500 foot hearing.  Invite the opportunity to address any negative issues and explain how you plan to address them.  This can convince the Liquor Authority that you will manage the premises properly and responsibly, and even alleviate the apprehension of opposers.  Address as many of the issues on this list as possible to increase your chances for a successful outcome.