First Time Liquor License Applicants

Liquor License Application Process (for NEW licenses)

It is recommended that for all NEW establishments with new construction or businesses moving into new spaces within the City of Aurora that would be a different use than the space previously been used in the past at the location to schedule a Development Services Team (DST) meeting (Brochure). At the meeting there will be representatives from divisions across the City that will help answer all development questions regarding your proposed venture. Please contact the Planning and Zoning Department for more information. The City Clerk is invited to attend all meetings when an applicant has indicated an interest in a pursuing a liquor license. 
After a DST (if needed) or at minimum of ninety (90) days from the intended opening date it is recommended that the liquor license application is submitted for review. The application is reviewed by multiple City staff members prior to being reviewed by the Mayor’s Office. A new liquor license application on average takes approximately two (2) months from when a complete application is received to reach the approval stage. Some of the factors that may be considered during the review involve the following:

  • Review of zoning if the location is approved for the issuance of a liquor license per the ordinance
  • Square footage of the building or space per requirements
  • Parking lot and space requirements
  • Need for a special use permit
  • Distance from a church or school
  • Confirmation that the proposed configuration meets all pertinent aspects of the Building Code as adopted by the City of Aurora
  • A certificate of occupancy would also be needed prior to the issuance of the liquor license.
  • Financial accounts are in good standing with the City for this and any other establishments with the same owners in the City
  • Background check of owners and managers for the establishment
After all internal reviews are completed a review is conducted by the Mayor to determine whether the applicant meets the requirements set forth in the ordinance and the proposed business would be a positive addition to the community and surrounding area. If the Mayor is in favor of extending a liquor license to the establishment then the Mayor would make a recommendation to City Council to increase the number of liquor licenses available in the specified class. The approval is required by City Council because only City Council can approve the increase in liquor licenses per class by ordinance.
The City Council approval takes place over the course of three (3) different meetings: Public Health, Safety & Transportation (PHST) Committee, Committee of the Whole and City Council. The PHST Committee Meeting is the introduction of the request for a liquor license before five (5) Aurora Aldermen who are members of the Committee. Typically questions will be asked regarding the request and the establishment. This is the first level of approval. If the Aldermen are in favor of your request it will be recommended to be considered at the next level in the approval process: Committee of the Whole.  This meeting will be held before all twelve (12) Aldermen and the Mayor to discuss your request and application. There may be similar or more detailed questions from the Aldermen regarding your request. This is the second level of approval. If the Aldermen are in favor of your request it will be recommended for the next and final step in the approval process: City Council. At City Council the Aldermen vote on the approval of the issuance of the license. If approved, the license may be issued after a final inspection (may be waived) and full payment for the license along with all other requirements, must be completed prior to issuance of the license.

The requirement for a complete liquor application includes the following:

Required Information

  • Certificate of Good Standing from the Illinois Secretary of State
  • Lease/Proof of Ownership
  • Dram Shop Insurance (Liquor Liability Insurance)
  • County Health Department Certificate
  • Menu (if applicable)
  • State-Certified Beverage Alcohol Sellers/Servers Training Certificates for all employees selling or serving alcohol
  • Background checks for owners, officers and managers required every 3 years: 2024 Fingerprint Information - All City Hall
  •  Out of State Applicant Information (PDF).

2023 - Endorsement Application

Please complete this application if you want to add any of the listed endorsements to your liquor license.  The available endorsements are listed on the application along with the license classes that are eligible to apply for endorsements.  Please note that submission of an Endorsement Application does not guarantee that an endorsement will be granted.  All applications will be reviewed by the appropriate reviewing body, specifically the Local Liquor Control Commissioner and/or the City Council.

2024 Endorsement Application (PDF)

Temporary Liquor Permit (Section 6-10)

Access the temporary liquor permit application here (PDF).

Required Information

  • $25 per day fee (maximum of 4 consecutive days)
  • Dram Shop Insurance (Liquor Liability Insurance) to the maximum amount covering the day(s) of the event.
  • State Liquor License
  • BASSET Training Certificates
  • Any other documents the local liquor commissioner may request pursuant to state or local liquor control laws, rules and regulations.

BASSET Training Information (Section 6-23)

 View the BASSET website

Entertainment Reporting

As a requirement per your liquor license, the Entertainment Report is due to the City Clerk at least 5 days prior to the event. Please follow these instructions to submit your events via the City's entertainment calendar online. 

Outdoor Seating Permit

An outdoor seating permit is required for all new outdoor seating areas established on or after March 28, 2017 for liquor license holders. Please reference Sec. 6-13(g) for requirements. Complete and submit the application to the City Clerk to obtain approval from the Local Liquor Control Commissioner prior to building or using the outdoor space for the service of alcoholic beverages.    

Holiday Extensions

New Year’s Eve

Per Sec. 6-28 (b)(1) any license classification which allows for the consumption of alcoholic liquor on the premises may remain open until 2:00 a.m. on New Years Day.  An establishment with a valid on-site consumption liquor license may submit an application requesting permission to sell alcoholic liquor between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day subject to provisions in the code. There is a $50.00 fee that must be submitted with the application to the City Clerk’s office on or before December 19th to be considered. Not all who apply will be issued a permit.  All permits are subject to the approval of the Local Liquor Control Commissioner.

2022 New Year's Eve Extension Application

2022 Categories and Points

Section 6-28 Hours of Operation

Discretionary Extension of Business Hours for Special Dates

All licensees licensed for on-site consumption may submit an application to the local liquor control commissioner to open and sell alcohol for on-site consumption one (1) hour early and to extend closing hours by one (1) hour per the hours as set forth in section 6-28(a). Each licensed establishment may be granted extended hours for special dates up to two (2) times per calendar year. Licensees are free to request any date of the year to apply as a Special Date. A New Year's Eve extension through 4:00 a.m., if granted, does not count toward a licensee's limit of two (2) special date extensions per calendar year.

2023 Hours Extension Application

The local liquor control commissioner may deny such request from any establishment that has had its liquor license suspended within the past year or for any establishment that currently owes the city money has been found to be in violation of any city codes within the past twelve (12) months. Establishments with active alcohol-related public nuisance abatement plans will not be eligible for the extension of hours. The local liquor control commissioner may discretionally deny such a request.