Apply for a Liquor License

Are you looking to serve or manufacture liquor in the City of Grand Rapids? Do you need to extend your existing license beyond your property for an event? You will need approval from the City of Grand Rapids before the State of Michigan will issue your license. We’ll walk you through our process.

Online

Make sure you need City approval

You need City Commission approval for new liquor licenses. This includes these types of licenses:

  • Resort liquor licenses
  • New wine maker licenses
  • New brewer licenses
  • New distiller licenses
  • Temporary licenses for events where event boundaries encompass City streets and/or sidewalks

No City Commission Approval Needed

Some liquor licenses don't need City Commission approval. These licenses don't need approval:

  • New tasting rooms
  • Transfer of ownership for existing licenses
  • Transfer of interest for existing licenses
  • Transfer of location for existing licenses
  • Off premise liquor licenses
  • Events held solely on private property
  • Events that Apply for a 24 Hour Liquor License through the State of Michigan

Submit your application early

This process takes time. 7 City departments will review your application. We'll be honest: this can take a while. Plan for our review to take around 90 days.

After these departments review your application, you'll need City Commission approval. The City Commission meets twice per month on Tuesdays. You can view the meeting schedule to get an idea of when and where they meet.

After the City Commission approves your application, we forward it to the State of Michigan. The State Liquor License department then processes your application.

The State will take at least 10 days to process temporary liquor licenses for events. The process will take longer for new liquor licenses.

Find out if you're applying for a license in a development district

The process for getting a license in a Corridor Improvement District (CID) or the Downtown Development District is a little different. There are specific requirements for liquor license approval in these districts. To see the requirements, review City Commission Policy 300-08.

The appropriate district board will review your application before recommending it for City Commission approval. Use our Corridor Improvement District Map to find out if your business is within a district.

Review the order of the application process

Applying for liquor licenses involves contact with three separate agencies:

  • Either the Kent County Health Department or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (see step 6 below to find out which one)
  • The City of Grand Rapids
  • The State of Michigan

You'll need to submit your completed State of Michigan application with your City of Grand Rapids application. We'll ask you to attach a copy of your State application when you complete our online application.

Check your eligibility

You are eligible if you have a valid driver's license and don't owe money to the City. We're unable to issue you a business license if you don't meet these requirements.

UNSURE IF YOU OWE?

  • Check if you owe court fees, property taxes or parking tickets. Call the Treasurer's Office at 616-456-3020
  • Check if you owe taxes to the City. Call the Income Tax Department at 616-456-3415

Some liquor license applications require approval from the Planning Commission. Contact the Zoning Department at 616-456-4100 to find out if you'll need approval.

Notify the appropriate agency of your intent to apply for a liquor license

You'll need to contact the appropriate agency to notify them of your intent to serve or manufacture liquor. The agency you need to contact depends on whether you will primarily serve for on-site or off-site consumption.

On-Site Consumption

Contact the Kent County Health Department before applying for your City license.

Off-Site Consumption

Contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Contact them before applying for your City license.

Complete your State of Michigan liquor license application

The application you need depends on the type of license you're looking for. Here's a look at the available forms:

When in doubt, ask

It's a good idea to work with the State Licensing Division to make sure you're using the right application.

Gather your information

Here's a look at what you'll need to complete your application:

  • Contact the Kent County Health Department or Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Completed State of Michigan Liquor License application

Have questions? Give us a call at the number listed in the Contact Us section of this page. There are many things that you need to do to apply for this license. We're here to help. We put together some resources to help you through the process:

Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 185KB)

Development District Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 195KB)

Temporary Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 181KB)

Liquor License Ordinance

Have your Visa or MasterCard ready

Application fees vary based on a few things. Here's a look at our liquor license fees. Keep in mind that application fees are non-refundable.

  • New liquor license: $1,049.00
  • New liquor license in a development district: $1,524.00
  • Temporary liquor license: $879.00

There's no extra processing fee to pay with a card online. We accept Visa and MasterCard payments online.

Complete the online application

We have an online form to guide you through this process. The application might take some time. That's why we recommend that you gather all the required information first.

Apply Online in English

We’ll review your application

Like we said before, this can take a while. Expect us to complete our review of your application in about 90 days.

Keep in mind that it may take longer to process your application if we find that you need to make changes.

We'll submit your application to the State

After the City Commission approves your application, we forward it to the State of Michigan. The State Liquor License department then processes your application.

The State will take at least 10 days to process temporary liquor licenses for events. The process will take longer for new liquor licenses.

Paper Form

Make sure you need City approval

You need City Commission approval for new liquor licenses. This includes these types of licenses:

  • Resort liquor licenses
  • New wine maker licenses
  • New brewer licenses
  • New distiller licenses
  • Temporary licenses for events where event boundaries encompass City streets and/or sidewalks

NO CITY COMMISSION APPROVAL NEEDED

Some liquor licenses don't need City Commission approval. These licenses don't need approval:

  • New tasting rooms
  • Transfer of ownership for existing licenses
  • Transfer of interest for existing licenses
  • Transfer of location for existing licenses
  • Off premise liquor licenses
  • Events held solely on private property
  • Events that Apply for a 24 Hour Liquor License through the State of Michigan

Submit your application early

This process takes time. 7 City departments will review your application. We'll be honest: this can take a while. Plan for our review to take around 90 days.

After these departments review your application, you'll need City Commission approval. The City Commission meets twice per month on Tuesdays. You can view the meeting schedule to get an idea of when and where they meet.

After the City Commission approves your application, we forward it to the State of Michigan. The State Liquor License department then processes your application.

The State will take at least 10 days to process temporary liquor licenses for events. The process will take longer for new liquor licenses.

Find out if you're applying for a license in a development district

The process for getting a license in a Corridor Improvement District (CID) or the Downtown Development District is a little different. There are specific requirements for liquor license approval in these districts. To see the requirements, review City Commission Policy 300-08.

The appropriate district board will review your application before recommending it for City Commission approval. Use our Corridor Improvement District Map to find out if your business is within a district.

Review the order of the application process

Applying for liquor licenses involves contact with three separate agencies:

  • Either the Kent County Health Department or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (see step 6 below to find out which one)
  • The City of Grand Rapids
  • The State of Michigan

You'll need to submit your completed State of Michigan application with your City of Grand Rapids application. We'll ask you to attach a copy of your State application when you complete our online application.

Check your eligibility

You are eligible if you have a valid driver's license and don't owe money to the City. We're unable to issue you a business license if you don't meet these requirements.

UNSURE IF YOU OWE?

  • Check if you owe court fees, property taxes or parking tickets. Call the Treasurer's Office at 616-456-3020
  • Check if you owe taxes to the City. Call the Income Tax Department at 616-456-3415

Some liquor license applications require approval from the Planning Commission. Contact the Zoning Department at 616-456-4100 to find out if you'll need approval.

Notify the appropriate agency of your intent to apply for a liquor license

You'll need to contact the appropriate agency to notify them of your intent to serve or manufacture liquor. The agency you need to contact depends on whether you will primarily serve for on-site or off-site consumption.

ON-SITE CONSUMPTION

Contact the Kent County Health Department before applying for your City license.

OFF-SITE CONSUMPTION

Contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Contact them beforeapplying for your City license.

Complete your State of Michigan liquor license application

The application you need depends on the type of license you're looking for. Here's a look at the available forms:

WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK

It's a good idea to work with the State Licensing Division to make sure you're using the right application.

Gather your information

Here's a look at what you'll need to complete your application:

  • Contact the Kent County Health Department or Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Completed State of Michigan Liquor License application

Have questions? Give us a call at the number listed in the Contact Us section of this page. There are many things that you need to do to apply for this license. We're here to help. We put together some resources to help you through the process:

Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 185KB)

Development District Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 195KB)

Temporary Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 181KB)

Liquor License Ordinance

Prepare payment

Application fees vary based on a few things. Here's a look at our liquor license fees. Keep in mind that application fees are non-refundable.

  • New liquor license: $1,049.00
  • New liquor license in a development district: $1,524.00
  • Temporary liquor license: $879.00

Here's a look at our accepted payment methods:

MAILED PAYMENTS

  • Check
  • Money order

IN PERSON PAYMENTS

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit or debit cards (Visa, Discover, or MasterCard)

Download the application

Fill out the PDF application and return it to us by mail or in person.

Download the Application in English

Mail or drop off your completed application

Make sure you have the appropriate payment ready. Refer to step 9 for accepted payment methods.

We’ll review your application

Like we said before, this can take a while. Expect us to complete our review of your application in about 90 days.

Keep in mind that it may take longer to process your application if we find that you need to make changes.

We'll submit your application to the State

After the City Commission approves your application, we forward it to the State of Michigan. The State Liquor License department then processes your application.

The State will take at least 10 days to process temporary liquor licenses for events. The process will take longer for new liquor licenses.

Phone

Make sure we're open

Our office hours are 8 AM - 5 PM, Monday through Friday. We are out of the office on public holidays.

Call us for instructions

You can find our number in the Contact Us section of this page. We'll get you all the information you need to apply for your business license.

In Person

Make sure you need City approval

You need City Commission approval for new liquor licenses. This includes these types of licenses:

  • Resort liquor licenses
  • New wine maker licenses
  • New brewer licenses
  • New distiller licenses
  • Temporary licenses for events where event boundaries encompass City streets and/or sidewalks

NO CITY COMMISSION APPROVAL NEEDED

Some liquor licenses don't need City Commission approval. These licenses don't need approval:

  • New tasting rooms
  • Transfer of ownership for existing licenses
  • Transfer of interest for existing licenses
  • Transfer of location for existing licenses
  • Off premise liquor licenses
  • Events held solely on private property
  • Events that Apply for a 24 Hour Liquor License through the State of Michigan

Submit your application early

This process takes time. 7 City departments will review your application. We'll be honest: this can take a while. Plan for our review to take around 90 days.

After these departments review your application, you'll need City Commission approval. The City Commission meets twice per month on Tuesdays. You can view the meeting schedule to get an idea of when and where they meet.

After the City Commission approves your application, we forward it to the State of Michigan. The State Liquor License department then processes your application.

The State will take at least 10 days to process temporary liquor licenses for events. The process will take longer for new liquor licenses.

Find out if you're applying for a license in a development district

The process for getting a license in a Corridor Improvement District (CID) or the Downtown Development District is a little different. There are specific requirements for liquor license approval in these districts. To see the requirements, review City Commission Policy 300-08.

The appropriate district board will review your application before recommending it for City Commission approval. Use our Corridor Improvement District Map to find out if your business is within a district.

Review the order of the application process

Applying for liquor licenses involves contact with three separate agencies:

  • Either the Kent County Health Department or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (see step 6 below to find out which one)
  • The City of Grand Rapids
  • The State of Michigan

You'll need to submit your completed State of Michigan application with your City of Grand Rapids application. We'll ask you to attach a copy of your State application when you complete our online application.

Check your eligibility

You are eligible if you have a valid driver's license and don't owe money to the City. We're unable to issue you a business license if you don't meet these requirements.

UNSURE IF YOU OWE?

  • Check if you owe court fees, property taxes or parking tickets. Call the Treasurer's Office at 616-456-3020
  • Check if you owe taxes to the City. Call the Income Tax Department at 616-456-3415

Some liquor license applications require approval from the Planning Commission. Contact the Zoning Department at 616-456-4100 to find out if you'll need approval.

Notify the appropriate agency of your intent to apply for a liquor license

You'll need to contact the appropriate agency to notify them of your intent to serve or manufacture liquor. The agency you need to contact depends on whether you will primarily serve for on-site or off-site consumption.

ON-SITE CONSUMPTION

Contact the Kent County Health Department before applying for your City license.

OFF-SITE CONSUMPTION

Contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Contact them beforeapplying for your City license.

Complete your State of Michigan liquor license application

The application you need depends on the type of license you're looking for. Here's a look at the available forms:

WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK

It's a good idea to work with the State Licensing Division to make sure you're using the right application.

Gather your information

Here's a look at what you'll need to complete your application:

  • Contact the Kent County Health Department or Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Completed State of Michigan Liquor License application

Have questions? Give us a call at the number listed in the Contact Us section of this page. There are many things that you need to do to apply for this license. We're here to help. We put together some resources to help you through the process:

Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 185KB)

Development District Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 195KB)

Temporary Liquor License Checklist(PDF, 181KB)

Liquor License Ordinance

Prepare payment

Application fees vary based on a few things. Here's a look at our liquor license fees. Keep in mind that application fees are non-refundable.

  • New liquor license: $1,049.00
  • New liquor license in a development district: $1,524.00
  • Temporary liquor license: $879.00

Here's a look at our accepted payment methods:

IN PERSON PAYMENTS

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit or debit cards (Visa, Discover, or MasterCard)

Visit our office to apply

Visit us on the 2nd floor of City Hall. Our address is in the Contact Us section of this page. We'll get you an application and answer all of your questions about the process. Make sure you have your payment ready. You can see our accepted payment methods in step 9 above.

We’ll review your application

Like we said before, this can take a while. Expect us to complete our review of your application in about 90 days.

Keep in mind that it may take longer to process your application if we find that you need to make changes.

We'll submit your application to the State

After the City Commission approves your application, we forward it to the State of Michigan. The State Liquor License department then processes your application.

The State will take at least 10 days to process temporary liquor licenses for events. The process will take longer for new liquor licenses.