What Are the Requirements for Acquiring an Austin Liquor License?


Are you ready to apply for your an Austin liquor license or permit for your retail establishment, but don’t know where to start?

There are many steps to this process, but we’ve compiled some tips to help you get started. Making sure you understand the entire process is a great place to start so that you can create a plan for acquiring your Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) permit and develop a realistic timeline.

Local Requirements

A complete TABC permit application requires “prequalification” from certain local governments and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts using the On-Premise Prequalification Packet (TABC Form L-ON) as well as other forms required by the TABC.

Before you can get started with prequalification, we strongly recommend confirming that your location complies with all local requirements. Cities require everything from zoning to certificates of occupancy to special-use permits before they will certify your TABC permit application.

Counties have their own requirements, and they will not certify your Austin liquor license if the proposed location fails to comply with any local ordinance, rule, regulation, or other requirements.

City of Austin Liquor License Requirements

According to the City of Austin website, several requirements must be satisfied before you approach the City to certify your Prequalification Packet:

    • If the business is classified as Group A Occupancy (e.g., bar, nightclub, or restaurant) and sales of alcohol are or will be 51% or more of total sales at the location, a Public Assembly Permit will be required.

    • A business must have a current, valid Permit to Operate a Food Enterprise before opening a bar or other food business in Austin.

    • A certificate of occupancy is required to lawfully occupy, use, or change the use of a structure.

Complete the Prequalification Packet

The second step in the application process includes completing pages one and two of the On-Premise Prequalification Packet (TABC Form L-ON). Don’t forget to have the appropriate person sign (as indicated on page two) in the presence of a notary.

Once you have the Prequalification Packet prepared, you are ready to go to the City, the County, and the Comptroller. You must go to these in the correct order, and the order depends on the local City and County’s preferences.

Once you have acquired certifications from the City, County, and Comptroller, you will have completed the prequalification process. Add the Publisher’s Affidavit for the publication of your legal notice and the Prequalification Packet will be complete.

If you aren’t familiar with the remaining forms that make up the full TABC permit application authorizing the sale of alcohol for consumption on-premises, you can review our blog detailing each form here.

Stay tuned for a complete breakdown of the Austin liquor license application process, including detailed step-by-step instructions and how to obtain certifications from the City, County, and Comptroller!

Disclaimer: Nothing in our articles or on our website is legal advice and should not be taken as such. Please address all legal questions to your counsel. While our team is not a law firm, we can refer you as needed.

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