How to Get an Alberta Liquor License for Pubs, Dining Rooms, Lounges and Nightclubs

A “Class A” Alberta liquor license is required for pubs, restaurants/dining rooms, lounges and nightclubs to sell and serve alcohol. Before you apply for a Class A liquor license, here is some information you’ll need. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) assesses many criteria that must be met by applicants before a license is issued.

Criteria include:

  • Applicant qualifications.
  • Legal control of the property.
  • Facility location.
  • Layout and design of the premises where alcohol will be sold and served.
  • Equipment and furnishings.
  • Size and number of guest rooms (if applicable)
  • Compliance with other regulatory agencies.

Class A License Application Steps

For all Alberta Class A liquor license applicants, the general steps are the same. These include:

  1. A preliminary assessment
    All new and existing applicants should contact the Regulatory Service Division far in advance of beginning an application. Depending on the type of establishment, you’ll be asked to submit a proposal with details about your operation including, but not limited to: interior design, furnishings, equipment, food service, entertainment, location, floor plan and menu. The preliminary assessment is a type of pre-screening, ensuring that applicants undertake steps to ensure their eligibility before the application process begins.
  2. Advertising your Class A Alberta liquor license application
    Once all requirements of the preliminary assessment are met, your application will be posted on the AGLC website for 21 days. If no objections arise, you’ll be granted approval to complete the application process.
  3. Application and documentation submission
    If your preliminary assessment is complete and no objections are raised when your application is advertised on the AGLC website, you’ll complete the application form and submit other documents as specified by the AGLC.Documents may include:

    1. Certificates of incorporation
    2. Partnership and franchise agreements
    3. Certificate of Occupant Load
    4. Approvals from other regulatory agencies
    5. Title or lease agreement
  4. Final inspection and interim liquor license
    After you’ve submitted your application and documentation, the Class A Alberta liquor license applicant contacts the AGLC to arrange a final inspection. If all requirements are met, the inspector will issue an interim liquor license

Note: when licensees plan on making changes to floor plans and layouts of their licensed establishment, they must get prior approval from AGLC to ensure that remodeling does not “void” previously met layout requirements. This prudent step could also save you the cost of undoing or redoing costly renovations.

Keeping your Alberta liquor license in good standing means being aware of your responsibilities and operating guidelines and ensuring they are upheld at all times. You and your staff must be aware of duties and responsibilities. Ideally, a plan that ensures your application continues in good standing should become a part of daily operations management. Reading, understanding and adhering to relevant sections of the Alberta Liquor Licensee Handbook (PDF) is a must.

For more information, see “Class A Licenses” (PDF).

Alberta Liquor License Application Help

As you can see, obtaining a Class A liquor license for your Alberta pub, dining room, lounge or nightclub requires an understanding of your obligations as a prospective licensee, and then, once approved, your legal duties as a license holder.

Rising Tide Consultants provides liquor license consulting services for Alberta, BC, and Ontario. Our services ease the burden and increase the chances of a successful Class A liquor license application. Our professional liquor consultants can help you with the application process, and help develop policies and procedures that your staff can easily follow to ensure you maintain compliance with AGLC requirements. Contact us today for more information about our services.