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melissac Joined
Jan / 2010

Philadelphia Liquor License Cost

I am in the preliminary stages of starting a small restaurant in Philadelphia, PA.  Due to the limited availability and extremely high price for a restaurant liquor license (I've heard numbers well over $100,000), I have been planning on going with a BYO policy as many restaurants in the city do.  I read about a different license called "Eating Place Malt License", which allows for the sale of beer only.  This is mainly used in delis and convenience stores, but I have been in several restaurants in the city that offer beer only for in-house consumption or take-out (think you need a separate license for that) and according to the LCB it is legitimate.  My question is how much on average does it cost for this type of license?  I assume it must be less than a full restaurant liquor license...

Steve AJoined
Feb / 2005
Steve A

Hi Melissa,

Not being in PA I couldn't tell you.  But I can tell you the best way to find out is to contact your liquor control board.

From what I see through a quick search, PA offers a lucrative business of being in business of helping establishments get a license.  WHEW.  That tells me it's probably not an easy process.  But again, I'm not there nor have I ever dealt with them.



Apr / 2009

From what I have seen, many successful businesses in PA are the ones that provide a good atmosphere and have an actual liquor license--in fact, I have seen liquor sales hold down the entire overhead involved with running a full service kitchen.I worked in that kitchen, and the kitchen was a giant red blotch when it came to inventory and COGS, but I couldn't do anything about it from my position.All I can say is that having a liquor license and good atmosphere will help keep costs afloat while sales are otherwise dry--especially in Philadelphia and/or blue states.At any rate, I am done with the East coast. Good luck with that license, you may need it more than you want it.

Apr / 2009

Also, BYOs have been having a lot of dry times as of late, just walk around.If you want regulars, you probably want a bar.

Jan / 2004

We are located in a suburb of Philly but used a Philly attorney to facilitate our license. His name is Barry Goldstein and he is a specialist in this area. I think he is still around. He can most likely give you a good idea what that license goes for these days and/or point you in the right direction to find one.

Back in the late 70's, we purchased our liquor license (full license) for 250,000! When we opened a 2nd store in the late 90's, we purchased another one for 50,000.  Crazy. Gina

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