Restaurant serving alcohol

We explain what you need to know to open a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol in Minneapolis.

Definition

See the rules for a restaurant or bar that prepares food and serves liquor, wine or beer to customers.  

  • You will not need to fill out a restaurant application if you are serving alcohol.
  • Approval of your license may take 8-10 weeks.
  • You may need a public hearing. Your license inspector will schedule this.
    Find your license inspector
  • Nightclubs and adult entertainment businesses are only allowed in downtown.

Get your license

See the steps to get and maintain a license.

Tips for opening your business

You can find information from the City about how to start a new business.

Meet with a Business Licensing inspector

Meet with a business licensing inspector to go over the requirements for your on-sale liquor, wine or beer license. Your business cannot open until you have your license.

Find your license inspector

Review the business license application

You must have a license to operate an on-sale liquor, wine or beer business in Minneapolis.

See the on-sale alcohol license applications

Request Sewer Availability Charge (SAC)

You may have to pay a fee for the waste water from your business.

About SAC fee application:

  • Apply for your SAC fee early. This fee can be expensive. 
  • After you apply, the Met Council will send you a SAC determination letter in 10 to 15 days. This letter will tell you your SAC fee.  

Apply online for your SAC fee

Find out if you qualify for the City's SAC deferral program for small businesses. Read about SAC basics

Complete a food plan review

You must submit plans for:

  • A new food or alcohol business, including food carts, kiosks, and trucks
  • Remodeling or expanding an existing food or alcohol business
  • Replacing food equipment that requires gas, mechanical or plumbing permits for installation
  • Adding ventless cooking equipment or ventless hoods

If you need to submit plans, they must be approved before you start any work. 

Find more information about food plan review 

Tell your new neighbors about your business

You must contact your council member, neighborhood organization, and business association.

  • Promote and create interest in your business
  • Network with local residents and leaders
  • Learn about resources they may offer small businesses. 

Send an email to your:

See a sample letter

Make a plan to have a Certified Food Protection Manager

Minnesota state law requires restaurants to have a Certified Food Protection Manager at each location. They must be on staff within 60 days of opening.  Certification requires attending an approved food safety class and passing an exam. 

See the Certified Food Protection Manager requirements

Gather documents you will need for your license application

The application may require documents, such as:

  • A proposed menu
  • A floor plan for your space
  • Your food plan review

Submit all required documents and fees to Business Licensing

Submit your application to Business Licenses & Consumer Services by email, by U.S. mail or in person at the City of Minneapolis service center

Contact 311 or Business Licenses if you have questions.

Additional information

Review and consider all requirements when starting your business.

See information about your operating your business

Business practices

Review employment and business resources.

Sample employee policy

Green To Go

Minneapolis has rules about containers for prepared food.  Food and beverages that are meant to be eaten immediately off-site or taken to-go must be put in containers that are:

  • Reusable
  • Recyclable or
  • Compostable

You must dispose of containers properly: 

  • Recycle recyclable containers 
  • Compost compostable containers 

Read more about required containers

Be prepared for health inspections

Your first routine inspection will occur within 60 days of opening. We focus on food safety.  Be sure to follow good food safety practices and regularly complete a self-inspection. 

Read about food safety

After you open

Find out what to do once your business is open and running.

Special events

You may apply for a permit to temporarily:

  • Expand your premises
  • Stay open late
  • Offer additional entertainment

See temporary permits

Expand your business

The City offers financing to help you cover costs of expansion, such as equipment. Contact your Development Coordinator who can guide you through city requirements. 

If you change equipment or add seating to your business, you may need to:

  • Update your SAC determination
  • Submit a new food plan
  • Get an additional license

Look at the City’s business resources

Changes to your owners

If you change owners, officers, shareholders, or managers, you must update your records. 

See ownership change applications

Renew your business license

Your business license must be renewed every April. We will send your renewal information in the mail 30 days before it is due.

View the City's Business Licensing Renewal Process video

Call 311 if you have questions. They will connect you with the right person at the City.

Contact 311

Contact us

Small Business Team

Community Planning & Economic Development

Phone

612-673-2499

Address

Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415

 

Minneapolis 311

 
 

Office hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday – Friday

Business Licenses & Consumer Services

Community Planning & Economic Development

Phone

612-673-2080

Fax

612-673-3399

Address

Public Service Building 
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 220
Minneapolis, MN 55415