Liquor-serving establishments

If you want to have a business in the City of Vancouver that sells or serves alcoholic drinks, you must have a liquor licence.

The Province

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) issues licences in BC for making and selling liquor and supervises the service of liquor in licensed establishments. The branch alone is responsible for deciding if you will receive a licence.

The City

The City of Vancouver also plays a significant role. The LCLB is required to consider specific community needs in deciding whether to issue or change a liquor licence. For some applications, such as new liquor primary establishments, this includes asking the city to provide a resolution that considers the following:

  • Establishment's location
  • Person-capacity of the proposed establishment
  • Operating hours requested
  • Views of local residents and businesses
  • Proximity to other social or recreational facilities
  • Number of other licensed establishments in the area
  • Potential traffic, noise, and parking problems
  • Population density and trends
  • Impact on the community if the application is approved

On June 14, 2017, Council adopted policy changes affecting businesses that serve and retail liquor.

Staff set three goals for the City Liquor Policy:

  1. Protect health, safety, and community livability
  2. Foster creativity, community connection, and local economy
  3. Ensure regulatory framework is effective and efficient

Read the staff report  (345 KB) and Council meeting minutes (344 KB) for full details.

Select your business type below to learn how the changes may affect your business.

Note No policy changes, including the last-entry program, are in effect for the Granville Entertainment District at this time.

Liquor primary including non-alcohol dance hall

Food primary

Arts and culture

Liquor manufacturers

Retail liquor stores

Public health, safety, intervention, and education measures

The following instructions apply to new applications, and permanent changes to existing Liquor Primary licences.

Meet with a Licence Coordinator to discuss your application before you submit your application.

Application requirements

Include the following:

Public consultation

We encourage you to liaise with area residents and business operators before submitting your formal application to let them know of a possible application to eliminate the public's surprise once the City conducts the official neighbourhood public consultation. The Chief Licence Inspector determines the level of public consultation. Processing fees are based on the degree of public consultation required for each application.

Stage 1: Site sign

Stage 2: Neighbourhood notification

Stage 3: Public meeting

Stage 4: Telephone survey

Council reports

The Chief Licence Inspector will prepare a report to Council which will include comments from the following departments: Police, Fire Prevention, Development Services and Social Development (including Central Area Planning, Heritage Planning and Cultural Planning when applicable). The Chief Licence Inspector will recommend to endorse or not endorse, or put forward for consideration to Council a report including the following information:

  • The results of all public consultation(s) and a summary of public concerns and/or support
  • An analysis of your application with respect to existing Council policy, LCLB policy, your history/background, and all issues concerning the proposed location. We will also provide, when applicable, an objective pros and cons analysis of your application

All respondents providing their full name and address as part of the public consultation will be notified before the report is presented to Council. The Council report will be presented at the first available meeting of the Standing Committee of Council on Planning and Environment, subject to the City Clerk's Office report deadlines.

The Council decision is forwarded by the City Clerk's Office to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. A motion to defer a decision pending results of further public consultation will progress the application to the next step in the Public Consultation Process.

Application process

Step 1: Application review and report preparation (Base fee: $893.00)

Step 2: Neighbourhood flyer notification (Fee increment: $1,073.00)

Step 3: Public meeting (Fee increment: $1,847.00)

Step 4: Telephone survey (Fee increment: $1012.00)

Temporary Liquor Licence Amendment Requests

Submit an amendment request when you want to temporarily extend:

  • Opening hours
  • Closing hours
  • Area (for example, patios)

Requests to temporarily amend a liquor licence must be submitted within a minimum of 5 weeks in advance of the first requested amendment date.

Staff can consider up to six requests per calendar year for LP has a track record of problem-free operations and adherence to bylaws and terms and conditions of their business licence.

Parameters for consideration

Closing hour extensions

Opening hour extensions

Area extensions

Guidelines

Applicable to all temporary requests to amend any liquor licence:

  • Your application will not be supported if there are any violations documented in the 4 months prior to the application submission date (previous 12 months will be reviewed);
  • Your application will not be supported if inspection staff have verified area resident or business complaints regarding the operation of the establishment for the 4 months prior to the application submission date (consideration for approval may be given if the business has taken extraordinary measures to resolve the issue of the complaint);
  • Favourable consideration will only be given to hours of operation extensions that are within the parameters of Table 1 "Council Approved Special Event Hours of Liquor Service by Area"

    Table 1 "Council Approved Special Event Hours of Liquor Service by Area"
    Area Special event hours
    Downtown -
    Primarily Commercial
    9:00am to 4:00am, 7 days a week
    Downtown -
    Primarily Mixed-use
    9:00am to 3:00am, Sunday to Thursday;
    9:00am to 4:00am, Friday and Saturday
    Downtown -
    Primarily Residential
    9:00am to 2:00am, Sunday to Thursday;
    9:00am to 3:00am, Friday and Saturday
    Non-Downtown -
    Primarily Commercial/Industrial
    9:00am to 3:00am, 7 days a week
    Non-Downtown -
    Primarily Mixed-use
    9:00am to 2:00am, Sunday to Thursday;
    9:00am to 3:00am, Friday and Saturday
    Non-Downtown -
    Primarily Residential
    9:00am to 1:00am, Sunday to Thursday;
    9:00am to 2:00am, Friday and Saturday
    Downtown Eastside (DEOD) 9:00am to 2:00am, Friday and Saturday only
  • Area extensions: 
    • Area extensions to existing patios may be considered for one day, up to a maximum of 4 times per calendar year, without requiring development permit approval from the Director of Planning. Extension requests that would reduce or eliminate required off-street parking or loading spaces will require development permit approval from the Director of Planning
    • Area extensions to exterior areas that are not associated with an existing approved patio must first obtain development permit approval from the Director of Planning
    • Area extensions to seating areas in arenas, theatres or other similar venues holding a Liquor Primary liquor licence can be considered for an unlimited number of times per year as long as an Occupant Load for liquor service in the seating area has been obtained from the Vancouver Fire Prevention Office
  • Letter of support/permit approval limitations:
    • Opening hour and area extensions can be issued for up to 3 month intervals and
    • Closing hour extensions shall be limited to no more than 4 to 6 events per calendar year as per LCLB policy

Applying for a temporary amendment

If you would like to make temporary amendments to your existing liquor licence, you will need to complete and submit the following:

Fees

Amendment requested Fee
Change of capacity $88.00
Change of hours Earlier opening hours: $88.00 per liquor licence
Later closing hours: $0.40/seat per night
Extension to licensed area $88.00
Miscellaneous changes $88.00

Supporting documents

  • Complete and signed City of Vancouver Temporary Liquor Licence Amendment form
  • Complete and signed LCLB Temporary Change to Liquor Licence form Note: Include all pages of the form. Those sections of the provincial form that are not applicable should be crossed out as “N/A” and initialed. Applications with missing pages will be returned as incomplete.
  • Copy of your valid Provincial liquor licence
  • Copy of the LCLB red-lined floor plan for the liquor licence (area extension requests only)
  • Floor plan (fully dimensioned) of requested area extension (area extension requests only)
  • Site plan (fully dimensioned) showing the relation of the existing licensed area to the area extension request (area extension requests only)
  • Payment of the application processing fees
  • Cover letter indicating preferred contact name, business email address, telephone and fax number

Review process

  1. Submit a complete application (as indicated by the checklist above) a minimum of 5 weeks in advance of the first requested amendment date. (The LCLB requires a minimum of 3 weeks and the City of Vancouver requires a minimum of 10 business days processing time to review the application). Note: Applications submitted less than 5 weeks in advance or incomplete applications will not be supported and will be subject to a $88.00 minimum processing fee.
  2. Process payment of the application fee.
  3. Application circulated to relevant departments for comments and clearance. Note: Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority comments and/or clearances will be required for most applications. Additional departmental comments may be required (such as, Fire Prevention or Engineering – Street Administration) based on the nature of the request.
  4. We will complete the application review and make appropriate comments within 14 calendar days of the application.
  5. We will contact you to return the paperwork required for you to complete the LCLB temporary change application process.

The following instructions apply to applications to permanently change hours of liquor service at Food Primary establishments, or restaurants.

Regulations

Hours of liquor service

Operating regulations

Consolidated business licence classifications

Applying for an amendment

What the City needs

What LCLB needs

Fees for a Restaurant Class 1 or 2 with Liquor service are:

Licence type Base fee Seat fee
New $782.00 (includes $54.00 new application fee) $9.30/seat
Renewal $728.00 $9.30/seat

Past updates

June 14, 2017 - Council adopted policy changes affecting establishments that serve and retail liquor.

Fall 2016 - Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on draft actions for the Vancouver Liquor Strategy. Read the result summaries from our liquor surveys.

Spring 2016 - we asked for initial feedback on our liquor strategy. Our first survey is now closed.

Learn about the liquor licence fees

Licence Bylaw 4450

See Schedules A and B for liquor licence fees.

All licences expire annually on 31 December each year. Fees are pro-rated based on the business start date.

Contact the Licence Coordinator

Licence Coordinator

Phone: 604-871-6461

Assistant to the Licence Coordinator

Phone: 604-873-7954

Email