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How to get a common victualler license

How to get a common victualler license

Learn how to apply for a Common Victualler License for your restaurant. You can apply even if your address doesn't have a Licensing Board-approved restaurant.

Step
1

Before you get started

If your address doesn’t already have a Licensing Board-approved restaurant, you need to attend a public hearing to get your license. Before your hearing contact your local Neighborhood coordinator and City Councilor.

You must give us your application at least two weeks before you plan to open or make changes to your location. This gives us enough time to review everything and have a vote.

You need to get a certificate from Inspectional Services. If your capacity is for 50 or more people, you'll need a Place of Assembly permit from the Fire Department. You won't be able to pick up your license until you can show us these documents.

The annual license fee is $100 plus $1 for each seat in your restaurant. If you only do take-out food, the annual fee is $210. We take checks or money orders made payable to the City of Boston.

You have to renew your license by the end of October every year. If you don't, we may take your license away.  

Step
2

Get your info together

If you don't plan to have outdoor seating, complete and print out this application.

If you plan to have outdoor seating, you need to complete and print out this application. You will also need to:

  • include a check for $170 made out to the Boston Herald for an advertising fee
  • notify your neighbors of your plans, and
  • get approval from the Public Works if your seating area is on a public way.

You need to include several other documents with your application, including:

Step
3

Give us your application

You can mail your application, documents, and payment, or bring everything to us at:

Licensing Board
1 City Hall Square, Room 809
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Monday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Step
4

Attend a hearing and get your license

Once we process your application, we will schedule a public hearing. We'll let you know when you have to appear, but you can also take a look at our hearing schedule.

If we approve your license, you’ll need to show us your certificates from Inspectional Services and the Fire Department when you pick up your license.

Step
1

Before you get started

You need to go to a hearing if you're making a lot of changes or adding outdoor seating to a Licensing Board-approved restaurant.

You need to contact your local Neighborhood coordinator and City Councilor before you can have a public hearing.

You must give us your application at least two weeks before you plan to open or make changes. This gives us enough time to review everything and have a vote.

The annual license fee is $100 plus $1 for each seat in your restaurant. If you only do take-out, the annual fee is $210. We take checks or money orders made payable to the City of Boston.

You have to renew your license by the end of October every year. If you don't, we may take your license away.  

Step
2

Get your info together

If you don't plan to have outdoor seating, complete and print out this application.

If you plan to have outdoor seating, you need to complete and print out this application. You will also need to:

  • include a check for $170 made out to the Boston Herald for an advertising fee
  • notify your neighbors of your plans, and
  • get approval from the Public Works if your seating area is on a public way.

You need to include several other documents with your application, including:

Step
3

Give us your application

You can mail your application, documents, and payment, or bring everything to us at:

Licensing Board
1 City Hall Square, Room 809
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Monday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Step
4

Pick up your license

If you’re not making a lot of changes to your restaurant, we will let you know if we approve your license within one to two weeks.

If you are making big changes to your hours or capacity, you will need to attend a hearing. We'll let you know when you have to appear, but you can also take a look at our public hearing schedule.

Contact:
Licensing Board
617-635-4170
1 City Hall Square
Room 809
Boston, MA 02201-2035
United States