License Commission

The License Commission serves as a regulatory board for various licenses issued by the City including licensing purveyors of alcoholic beverages. The Commission strives to issue licenses that will be an asset to the community and to ensure that all rules and regulations pertaining to licenses are complied with in order to protect the safety and health of the public.

Commission Profile Meeting Schedule & Application Deadline

Public Notices

As of 4/1/2023, all outdoor dining installations located on the public sidewalk require an annual application and permit from DPW&P which is Available Online.

As of 4/30/2024, on-premise alcoholic beverage licensees licensed for the sale of all alcoholic beverages, distilled spirits or cordials/liqueurs may sell mixed drinks permitted under their type and category of license for off-premises consumption. Learn More

As of 4/30/2024, ABCC approval is no longer required for amendments to add outdoor alcoholic beverage table service areas. Licensees should contact the License Commission with any questions and apply directly with us.

Meetings

Meet twice monthly on Thursdays at 10 a.m.

Please review the Meeting Schedule for meeting dates and application deadlines.

Date/Time of Next Meeting: Thursday May 30th, 2024

NO APPLICATIONS FILED

Applications

Please contact the License Commission Office at 508-799-1198 ext 33009 or email license@worcesterma.gov if you have questions about which ABCC form to use. There are City of Worcester forms that are also required in addition to the ABCC forms.

THE MASSACHUSETTS ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES CONTROL COMMISSION (ABCC) REQUIRES THAT ALL INFORMATION ON LIQUOR LICENSE APPLICATIONS MUST BE TYPED OR IT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. THE FORMS ARE FILLABLE PDF FORMS. NO STAPLES IN THE APPLICATION OR ANY OF THE BACK UP ITEMS AS ALL ITEMS MUST BE SCANNED.

APPLICANTS MUST SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH STAFF FOR APPLICATION TO BE REVIEWED PRIOR TO FILING TO ENSURE THAT APPLICATION IS COMPLETE AND ALL FORMS HAVE BEEN FILLED OUT PROPERLY.

For information on all city permits, licenses and fees, visit Permit/License Center.

Outdoor Dining • Download Application

Temporary Outdoor Dining Licenses permitted during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, must reapply for a permanent licensure for continue Outdoor Dining beyond April 1, 2024 using this application. Potential applicants can watch a recording of an informational session held with city and ABCC staff to learn more about the application process and what you need to consider for your outdoor dining installation (whether it's a new installation or a temporary outdoor dining license you need to make permanent).
View the Meeting Video

Application Requirements:

  • Copy of your proof of ownership, lease or license rights to utilize the area(s) proposed for outdoor dining and any additional required parking.
  • Photographs of the proposed outdoor area(s) and/or areas where alterations are proposed.
  • A plan (neatly drawn diagram) of the proposed outdoor dining area(s) with an appropriate level of detail. Note: Certain proposals may require to-scale, fully dimensioned or engineered plans.
  • Copies of your insurance certificate for (1) general liability, (2) workers compensation and/or (3) liquor liability (if applicable).
  • Certified Abutters List.
  • If you serve alcohol, see application and requirements for "Alteration of Premises" from the ABCC.
  • If you propose dining on the sidewalk, provide a copy of your DPW Sidewalk Obstruction Permit.

Automatic Amusement • Download Application

Bottle Service • Download Application

Common Victualer (Food) License • Apply Now!

Application is for a new license or a transfer of license. The time-frame for a Common Victualer license is four to six weeks from the date of the submission of the completed application.

Application Requirements:

Entertainment License • Download Application

Application Requirements:

  • No fee for Monday through Saturday; Sunday license requires fee of $50 to City of Worcester, $100 to Commonwealth of MA.

Lodging House (New or Renewal) • Apply Now!

Application Requirements:

  • $25 filing fee and $50 license fee.

Newsracks on Public Ways, Placement • Download Application

Application Requirements:

  • Once the application has been filed, it will be scheduled for the next available Commission meeting.

One-Day Entertainment License • Download Application

Parking Lot License

Before you can submit an application for a permit or license you must create an account. Please see Signing Up, Creating a Profile & Accessing Your Information and Applying for a Permit & Paying Fees.

Application Requirements:

Parking Lot licenses expire on August 1st and are renewable!

Pool Table/Bowling Alley • Download Application

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the application.
  • Submit a plan where the tables/alleys will be located on premises.
  • Submit a copy of your insurance certificate.

Retail Marijuana • Download Application

Application Requirements:

  • Planning Board approval decision.
  • Plan of Premises
  • Security Plan
  • Odor Control Plan
  • CCC License
  • List of Management Personnel and Contact Information
  • Management Plan
  • Disclosure of Financial Interest
  • Business Registration
  • Copy of the executed Host Community Agreement with City of Worcester.
  • Lease or proof of ownership of premises.
  • Plan describing how persons under 21 years of age will be identified and prevented from entering.
  • $100 Initial Filing & Advertising Fee, $50 Annual Renewal
  • $2,750 Annual License Fee

Shooting Gallery • Download Application

To be filled out by manager and owner of business.

Application Requirements:

  • The Police Department will conduct a criminal record check on anyone with a direct/indirect interest in the business.

Special (One-Day) License Multiple Event • Download Application

Application Requirements:

  • Completed Application
  • Letter of permission to have alcohol on the premises from the owner of the location where event will be held.
  • Alcohol must be purchased from a licensed wholesaler.
  • Management Security Plan
  • $100 Per Day Fee (Max of 30 Events Per Year)
  • Copy of Server Training Certificate

Have a Question?

  • Yes. An on-premise license (which includes the categories of restaurants, hotels, bars, taverns and clubs) may not be issued to a person "who has been convicted of a violation of a federal or state narcotic drug law."

  • Yes. There are qualifications for a liquor license. These qualifications are set by the law. The type and number of qualifications for a liquor license depend on who the party is that is applying for the liquor license (i.e. whether the party is an individual, a partnership, or a corporation) and what type of liquor license is being sought.

    1. Pouring Licenses under Section 12

      Generally, an individual applying for a "pouring license" under Section 12 (e.g. a liquor license for a restaurant, bar, nightclub, hotel or tavern) must be a citizen of the United States and 21 years of age or older. A partnership (where two or more people are doing business together) may hold such a liquor license where each partner is a citizen of the United States and 21 years of age or older.

      A corporation may hold such a liquor license provided that a majority of the directors are not aliens and that the corporate licensee appoints a license manager who is an individual, 21 years of age or older, who is a citizen of the United States and has "vested in him (or her) by properly authorized and executed written delegation as full authority and control of the premises, described in the license of such corporation, and the conduct of all business therein relative to alcoholic beverages as the (corporate) licensee itself could in any way have and exercise if it were a natural person." This license manager must be satisfactory to both the local and state licensing authorities with respect to his or her character.

      No "pouring" license shall be issued to any applicant who has been convicted of a violation of a federal of state narcotic drugs laws. There is no time limit after which this disqualification ends.

    2. Package Store License Under Section 15

      Generally an individual applying for a "package goods store" or "package store" license (i.e. a license for the sale at retail alcoholic beverages not to be drunk on the premises where sold) must be both a citizen and a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and 21 years of age or older. A partnership (where two or more people are doing business together) may hold such a liquor license where each and every partner is both a citizen and a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and 21 years of age or older.

      A corporation may hold such a liquor license provided that the corporation is organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that all directors of the corporation are citizens of the United States and that a majority of the directors of the corporation are residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A corporation who holds such a license must appoint a license manager who is an individual, 21 years of age or older, who is a citizen of the United States and has "vested in him (or her) by properly authorized and executed written delegation as full authority and control of the premises, described in the license of such corporation, and the conduct of all business therein relative to alcoholic beverages as the (corporation) licensee itself could in any way have and experience if it were a natural person". This license manager must be satisfactory to both the local and state licensing authorities with respect to his or her character.

      No license shall be issued to any applicant who has been convicted of a felony. Further, "no firm, corporation, association or other combination of persons, directly or indirectly, or through any agent, employee, stockholder, officer or other person or any other subsidiary whatsoever shall be granted, in the aggregate, more than three such licenses in the commonwealth, or be granted more than one such license in a town or two in a city."
  • No specified distance; however under Section 16C of M.G.L. Chapter 138, premises located within a radius of five hundred feet of a school or church shall not be licensed to sell alcoholic beverages unless the local licensing authority determines in writing and after a hearing that the premises are not detrimental to the educational and spiritual activities of that church or school, unless the premises are those of an inn holder or unless the parts of the buildings are located ten or more floors above street level. The 500 foot distance under this Section 16C is measured in a straight line from the nearest point of the church or school to the nearest point of the premises to be licensed.

  • A licensee has five (5) days from receipt of the written decision to appeal to the A.B.C.C. a decision made by the Local Licensing Authority.

  • Under the Liquor Control Act (M.G.L. Chapter 138), local licensing authorities may grant three classifications of retail licenses:

    1. Licenses under Section 12 (On-Premise), commonly referred to as a "Pouring License."
    2. Licenses under Section 14 (Special), commonly referred to as a "One-Day License."
    3. Licenses under Section 15 (Off-Premises) commonly referred to as a "Package Store License".
  • At least 18 years of age. Although Chapter 138, section 34 prohibits the sale or delivery of Alcoholic Beverages to a person under 21 years of age, nothing in Chapter 138, Section 34 shall prohibit any licensee from employing a person 18 years of age or older for the direct handling, selling, mixing or serving of alcohol or alcoholic beverages.

  •  

    Section 12 (On-Premise) CITIZENS? RESIDENTS?
    Individual YES NO
    Partnership ALL NO
    Corporation MAJORITY NON-ALIENS NO
    Manager YES NO
    Section 14 (Off-Premises) CITIZENS? RESIDENTS?
    Individual YES YES
    Partnership ALL ALL
    Corporation ALL DIRECTORS MAJORITY OF DIRECTORS
    Manager YES NO
  • If a licensee is charged with permitting the service, delivery, or possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21 years of age, under current state law, a licensee has a defense only if the licensee can affirmatively prove that prior to permitting the service, delivery or possession of alcoholic beverages by a person, the licensee requested, was shown, examined and reasonably relied on either:

    • A valid Massachusetts driver license.
    • A valid Massachusetts Liquor Identification card.
    • A valid Passport issued by the United States Government, or by the government, recognized by the United States government, of a foreign country.
    • A valid United States issued active duty Military Identification Card.
  • Black's Law Dictionary defines a "license" as a permit, granted by an appropriate granted body, generally for a consideration, to a person, firm or corporation to pursue some occupation to carry on some business subject to regulation under the police power. Liquor licenses and permits are revocable privileges granted by the authority of the Commonwealth. Any licensee who violates M.G.L. Chapter 138 or any regulation promulgated by the Commission or the local licensing authority may be stripped of their privilege of holding a license, after a hearing.

  • The local licensing authority in the city of town where the business is located after the completion of a 3-step process. Step one: the local licensing authority grants a restaurant or package store license; Step two: the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (A.B.C.C.) approves the granting of such a license. Following this approval by the A.B.C.C., Step three: the local licensing authority may issue upon payment of the licensing fee.

Resources

Report a Concern

To report a concern regarding a licensed establishment (restaurant, bar, nightclub), please contact License Commission staff at license@worcesterma.gov. Report a Concern.

  • Describe the location, date/time and nature of the complaint.
  • Provide your name and contact info (optional, but recommended).

Forms

Rules & Regulations

Contact Information

License Commission
25 Meade Street
2nd Floor
Worcester, MA 01610

Accessible via WRTA Bus Line. View Schedules

Phone: 508-799-1198 x33009
Fax: 508-799-8544
Email Us

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

City of Worcester
Worcester 311
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 311
Contact Us
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