Liquor License Eligibility

The City of Chicago’s liquor license application process is designed to ensure that liquor licenses are issued only to persons who meet the eligibility requirements of the Chicago Municipal Code and the Illinois Liquor Control Act. The following list is a summary of all classes of individuals who are prohibited from holding any type of liquor license:

  1. A person who knowingly files false or incomplete information on a liquor license application;
  2.  A person who knowingly files false or fraudulently obtained signatures on petitions for the purpose of obtaining a Late Hour Liquor License;
  3. A person who has been convicted of a felony under any federal or state law -- if the Local Liquor Control Commission determines, after an investigation, that such person has not been sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant the public trust;
  4. A person who is not a resident of the City of Chicago (applied to sole proprietors only);
  5. A person who is not of good character and reputation in the community in which he resides or in the community in which his premises are located;
  6. A person who owes any outstanding debt to the City of Chicago;
  7. A person who has been convicted of being the keeper or is keeping a house of prostitution;
  8. A person who has been convicted of pandering or other crimes or misdemeanors opposed to decency and morality;
  9. A person whose license issued under Title 4, Chapter 4-60 of the Municipal Code has been revoked;
  10. A person who at the time of application or renewal would not be eligible to hold such license upon first application;
  11.  A partnership, if any member of the partnership would not be eligible to receive a license for any reason other than residency in the city;
  12.  A corporation, if any stockholder or any director, officer or manager of the corporation owning in aggregate more than 5% of the stock of such corporation, would not be eligible to receive a license for any reason other than residency in the city;
  13. A corporation unless it is incorporated in the State of Illinois. If it is incorporated outside of Illinois, the corporation must be qualified under the Illinois Business Corporation Act of 1983;
  14. A person whose place of business is conducted by a manager or agent, unless the manager or agent possesses the qualifications required to obtain a license, except for residency in the city;
  15. A person who has been convicted of violation of any federal or state law concerning the manufacture, possession or sale of: liquor, cannabis, narcotics or other controlled substances, or who has forfeited bond to appear in court to answer charges for any such violations;
  16. A person who does not beneficially own the premises for which the license is sought or does not have a lease for a minimum period of one year;
  17. Any elected public official of local government, or any non-elected law enforcing official or law enforcement employee who has jurisdiction in the City of Chicago;
  18. A person who is not the beneficial owner of the business to be operated by the licensee;
  19. A person who is ineligible for or fails to receive a license to sell alcoholic liquor at retail from the State of Illinois;
  20. A person who has been convicted of a gambling offense as prescribed by any of subsections (a)(3) through (a)(10) of Section 28-3 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961;
  21. A person or partnership to whom a federal wagering stamp has been issued for the current tax period or a corporation, if any shareholder holding an aggregate amount of stock of 20% or more has been issued a wagering stamp for the current tax period.
  22. A person who is married to, or is the registered domestic partner of, an individual who is ineligible to hold a liquor license.

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