getting liquor license - do it myself or hire a lawyer?

July 2, 2013

Hi all! I'm opening a bar in Minneapolis, and I'm not sure if should hire a lawyer to help me with getting a liquor license, or should I do it myself. A lawyer that I've consulted with wants $5,000 for helping with filing the application with the city. Is it a fairly normal fee for such service? Could someone recommend a lawyer with bar/restaurant experience in Minneapolis area please. Thank you!

Re: getting liquor license - do it myself or hire a la...
by: GandT
July 6, 2013

I have opened/purchased 4 places in the last 3 years and used a lawyer only once. It really depends on the municipal and local government and your area. There can be a lot of zoning issues, and also in a city with neighborhoods that can weigh in on your license it helps to have a professional. I spent $10,000 on the lawyer for my last one. Is the lawyer billing by the hour with $5000 as his estimate/retainer, or is that a fixed price to get you through application? Does that cover local and state? Some of the questions you should be asking are: how is my space zoned, are their neighboring alcohol licensed establishments, what is your time frame, is the establishment currently licensed, do i need a survey for distance requirements ie from schools, etc. If you're in an urban area with residential nearby chances are there are local alcohol codes that will be relevant. This means taking a lot of time to read through them if you're doing it yourself. I read pretty much the entire alcohol code. Most people do much less and can be OK, but if you're starting any build-out or significant investments / signing a lease without a contingency for your license - then it's super important you know!

Re: getting liquor license - do it myself or hire a la...
July 8, 2013

Bar in MN

I just finished opening a spot in downtown MN last year and we had a lawyer advise us on the liquor license. I feel that if time in of the essence you should make sure you have council on getting it done right the first time.
That being said working with someone who has a relationship with the liquor board is always better and will often help expedite the process.

Time is money....and that rent clock is ticking!

Chris Lenahan

Re: getting liquor license - do it myself or hire a la...
by: maxvino
July 9, 2013

Hey guys, thank you so much for your replies. I realize that having legal counseling makes a lot of sense in my case, but I just needed extra reassurance from people like you I guess. By the way, I was able to negotiate the lawyer fees for helping me with the liquor license down to $2,5k. That sounds fair, doesn't it? Anyway, thank you again.

Re: getting liquor license - do it myself or hire a la...
by: aceofspades
July 14, 2013

In Florida it costs 400k for a full license in my county :(

Re: getting liquor license - do it myself or hire a la...
by: barstopservices
August 1, 2013

getting advice from the lawyer is the best method


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