5 Steps to Getting a Liquor License in Honolulu

January, 2011

Applicants for Oahu liquor licenses must attend two hearings and submit floor plans, tax maps and other documents and certificates. It can take about three to four months to get a license, “assuming no issues arise during the licensing investigation or at the hearings,” says Anna Hirai, acting administrator at the Honolulu Liquor Commission. Hirai offers these tips to help streamline the process.
1) Create a checklist

Go to www.co.honolulu.hi.us/liq/ to get forms, review liquor laws and rules, and then submit specific questions about the process to the liquor licensing clerk. “Much of the difficulty can be reduced by presubmission preparation,” Hirai says. 
2) Proper floor plan

Floor plans don’t need to be drawn by professionals, but they should be legible, accurate and drawn to a standard architectural scale (e.g., a quarter-inch to one foot), Hirai says. “All permanent structural elements, including exterior and interior walls, doorways, fixtures, built-in components, sinks, restrooms, etc., should be included.”
3) Tax maps

Tax maps showing registered voters, owners, lessees and small businesses in the area must be drawn on 24-by-36-inch paper. “Applicants must send notice to parties who are within 100 feet and 500 feet radii of the proposed licensed premises,” Hirai says. Maps should be measured from the perimeter of the proposed premises. Get tax maps and lists with this information at Hawaii Land Information System.
4) Attend hearing

Once all the documents are submitted, a hearing is scheduled with the Liquor Commission. At the hearing, the commission will question the applicant and ask about the application, and members of the public can testify, Hirai says. If the commission denies an application, the applicant must wait at least one year before resubmitting.
5) Keeping your license

Existing licensees receive renewal forms in April, which are due back by June 30. Fees vary. Printed resource booklets are available for $5 at the commission’s front counter. Get forms, contact numbers and other information at co.honolulu.hi.us/liq/.

Honolulu Liquor Commission

711 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 600 
(Pacific Park Plaza Building)
Registration Hotline: 768-7300, Press 4
Complaints: 768-7363
Licensing/Employee Registration: 768-7322
Administration: 768-7311
Email: liquor@honolulu.gov

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