Helpful Tips

 From my experience, Liquor Commission prefers applicants applying for a liquor license to attend the hearing without an attorney. The Liquor Commissioners easily recognize which applicants have the knowledge needed to obtain a liquor license. As long as the applicant does a little home work and tells the truth, he/she shouldn’t have any problem obtaining a liquor license. If you cannot answer the commissioner‘s concerns satisfactorily, they will ask you to come back again with a answer or solution. Here are some helpful suggestions to help you obtain a liquor license.

  •  Before applying for liquor license, attend at least one license hearing. Honolulu hearings are held at 4:00 P.M. every Thursday at the Honolulu liquor commission office. You should listen to and understand the correct responses to questions that are asked for your type of license. They usually ask less then two very simple questions.

  •  It will help to have at least one officer or manger on your staff who has previously worked in your business. If transferring business and liquor licenses, you may want to keep some of the old staff so that the transition is easier. If you have a liquor server training program, that is a plus and you should document all these and ask the investigator to add the document in his report to the commissioner.

  •  For a cabaret license you should have a security program and document it in the investigator’s report.

  •  The commissioners will usually ask about drinking age. The correct answer is “I must verify that person is at least 21 years old by requesting them to show a valid identification, and I will not sell liquor to a minor or to anyone who cannot show correct identification such as a valid driver’s license, State ID, Military ID or Passport. I will not sell liquor to a person who is under the influence nor to a disorderly person “.

  •  If your financial statement is weak then you may want to fill in the “EXPLANATION OF OTHER ASSETS AND/OR LIABILITIES” in the financial statement form and you should be able to show that you can pay the initial operating expenses for six months of operation.

  •  If you are required to send a public notice, you must send the notice to the Neighborhood Board and to the manager of condominiums and/or any cooperative apartments within the 500 feet of your business area. Before the hearing date, attend the neighborhood board, condominium association and cooperative apartment meeting and explain your business. If you get their blessing and or recommendation that is plus and you should document it and give it the commissioner one week before you hearing. The Commission usually picks up applications and investigator reports Friday morning for next Thursday hearing. If you cannot attend the meeting you should at least give them a call.

  •  Before the hearing you should read and fully understand the investigator’s report. If you have questions ask the investigator before the hearing.

  •  At the hearing you should have copy of investigator’s report and all forms and documents for the license application.

  • To apply for a liquor license, the lease doesn’t need to be signed. You can turn in a copy of the lease document without signatures.