About Liquor Licensing

Photo of a bar. The photograph shows clean glasses stacked, cocktail shakers and shelves of liquor
This guide will help you understand how to apply for a liquor license with the City of Portland.
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Serving alcohol and managing people who are consuming alcohol are big responsibilities. The goals of the City of Portland's Liquor Licensing Program are to help you provide this service in a way that brings people together, ensures safe practices, and contributes to the vibrancy of our communities.

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) holds sole authority to grant, deny or restrict a liquor license. The City of Portland’s role in liquor licensing is to act as a local processor of applications, provide information to support the OLCC in its decision making, and support local community building.

We do not process or provide bartender or servers permits. The OLCC provides server permits here.

City of Portland and the OLCC

The OLCC requires approval from a local governing body on all applications. The City of Portland is the local governing body for all establishments that serve liquor within the official boundaries of Portland. Find out if you are in Portland city limits by using PortlandMaps. Just type in your address and look for "jurisdiction". If it says Portland/Multnomah, then City of Portland is your local governing body. If it says something else, then contact the OLCC to determine the appropriate local governing body. We cannot accept applications for establishments outside of Portland city boundaries. 

License Types

About the Application Process

It takes the City 45 days to process a liquor license once a complete application packet is received. 

Upon receipt of a complete application, the City of Portland will develop a recommendation on the application in two ways: 

  1. The Liquor Program sends the application to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). The PPB will use the Personal History Forms to do background checks and will investigate the location for any concerns. The appropriate PPB precinct (Central, North or East) will then make a recommendation on the application. This recommendation must be included as part of your OLCC application process. 
  2. The Liquor Program launches a public notification effort by posting the application online and, for new outlets, mailing a postcard to neighbors within a 300-foot radius of the license location requesting comments of support or opposition within 30 days of the application submission. All responses are public record and are shared with the OLCC as part of the application process.

Liquor License Comment Form

Great gathering spaces are an important part of any thriving community. A bar or restaurant can be a valuable community hangout and help to strengthen a sense of identity and connection. It’s important that liquor license holders, neighbors, and City agencies work together to maintain the vibrancy and safety of our neighborhoods.

Community members are allowed to submit comments about a liquor license application in process; the comment form must be completed and returned within 30 days of which the application has been received by the City of Portland's Liquor License Program. Comments submitted will become part of the permanent public record for the specified liquor license and will be made available upon request. Visit the website to view pending liquor license applications.

To submit your comments about a liquor license application in process, send an email message to Liquor@portlandoregon.gov or mail comments to:

Liquor Program
Bureau of Development Services
1900 SW 4th Ave., Suite 5000
Portland, OR 97201

All comments must include the address of the liquor license application, your name, and address or they will not be considered. Comments submitted become part of the permanent public record for the specified liquor license and will be made available upon request.


Liquor Licensing

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