Information about City of Boulder Liquor Licenses

How to apply for a liquor license, process timeline and related resources.

Liquor Licenses Overview

  • Obtaining a liquor license in the City of Boulder is a privilege and not a right.
  • Liquor licenses are issued by "dual" licensing authorities. All applications are submitted to the local authority and must be approved before being forwarded to the State of Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division.

Outdoor Dining Pilot Program - 2023 Information

  • Outdoor dining, originally developed as a response to COVID-19, has expanded to a five-year pilot program. The program began Sept. 1, 2022 and ends on Oct. 31, 2027, unless extended by subsequent Boulder City Council Action.
  • Applications for Outdoor Dining patio expansions will only be accepted during a one-month application window for each year of the pilot, Feb. 1 through Mar. 1.
  • For establishments that hold an issued Liquor License:

    • a Temporary Modification of Premises application should be submitted as soon as possible
      • Liquor licensing applications are a separate process from the Outdoor Dining Pilot expansion application with Planning and Development Services
      • A Liquor Temporary Modification application requires a 30-day public notice posting
      • Apply for a Temporary Modification online now on the Customer Self-Service portal to minimize processing delays
    • Additional information can be found below under the Liquor License Application Documents section- Modifications for Outdoor Dining Program
  • Regulatory Licensing may be reached with application questions via email at: licensingonline@bouldercolorado.gov
  • Liquor Temporary Modification processing times during the 2023 Outdoor Dining Pilot Program application window may take up to 90 days
    • Serving Alcohol in an Outdoor Dining Patio expansion area prior to an approved Liquor Temporary Modification is a violation of your liquor license which may result in license suspension or revocation
    • Food may be served in an approved Outdoor Dining Patio expansion area prior to your Liquor Temporary Modification approval
  • Outdoor Dining Pilot Program.

  • All liquor applications can be submitted and paid online.

Liquor License Process Timeline

The liquor license process generally takes three to four months or longer to complete.

The first step is to obtain Zoning Location Analysis Approval through the Planning and Zoning Department prior to scheduling your application intake appointment. The instructions are included in each license application packet requiring this approval. Therefore, you must plan accordingly and communicate with the Licensing Division far in advance of your anticipated opening date. Failure to file applications in a timely manner will most likely result in a delay.

Decision Guidelines

  • New licenses are granted based upon demonstration that the surrounding neighborhood "needs and desires" the issuance of a new license and that the moral character of the applicant is acceptable to the local and state licensing authorities.
  • Transfer of Ownership licenses are granted based upon the moral character of the applicant.
  • Permanent Modifications are granted based upon the neighborhood “needs and desires” for the proposed change to the licensed premise.

Who Can Get a License?

  • Colorado liquor and beer licenses may be issued in the name of natural persons, corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Applicants and other persons involved with partnerships, corporations, or limited liability companies, must be at least 21 years of age. Persons under 21 may be involved with an established trust as long as the trustee is at least 21 and the person under 21 cannot benefit from the trust until that person reaches the age of 21.
  • All corporations and limited liability companies must be registered with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office and authorized to do business. Foreign corporations and foreign limited liability companies must also register with the Secretary of State and be authorized to do business in Colorado.
  • Applicants do not have to be a United States citizen or a Colorado resident to acquire a liquor or beer license and the existence of a criminal record does not preclude a person from licensure. However, applicants with criminal records must be able to provide evidence of rehabilitation or they may be denied a license.

Applicants unfamiliar with the lengthy and detailed application process may want to consult an attorney. All necessary application forms and instructions are available online from our website.

For information about the liquor licensing process or upcoming meetings of the Beverage Licensing Authority, contact the licensing office at 303-441-4192.

How to Apply for a Liquor License

Register for a City of Boulder Customer Self Service Portal Account

Complete Application Packet

Locate the requested Liquor License Application Packet in the Liquor License Application Documents section below.

Please note that specific instructions for each application type will be located within the packets.

Apply & Pay Online

Submit completed application and payment online through the City of Boulder Customer Self-Service Portal.

View PDF application and payment instructions

*New, Transfer, Change of Class, and Change of Location Applications will receive an invoice to be paid via the Customer Self Service Portal*

Have Questions?

The Regulatory Licensing Division holds virtual application clinics every Wednesday morning, which you may attend via call in to ask questions;

11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for Liquor license application questions

Call: 412-912-4129 and enter conf ID: 292 927 332 797#

passcode: i6UjRP

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Beverage Licensing Authority

The city's Beverage Licensing Authority (BLA) hears and rules upon applications for licenses for the sale of fermented malt beverages and liquor. The BLA can suspend or revoke such licenses for cause.