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Liquor Laws

Hudson Law Firm Jan. 14, 2023

LiquorLiquor laws are important in New Jersey for a number of reasons. These laws help to regulate the sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol in the state.

Some of the reasons why liquor laws are important in New Jersey include:

  • To protect public safety: By regulating the sale and service of alcohol, liquor laws help to prevent incidents of drunk driving and other alcohol-related crimes.

  • To prevent underage drinking: Liquor laws establish the legal drinking age in New Jersey, which is 21, and help to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors.

  • To promote responsible consumption: Liquor laws help to encourage responsible consumption of alcohol by establishing rules for the sale and service of alcohol, such as prohibiting the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals.

  • To generate revenue: Liquor laws also help to generate revenue for the state through the sale of liquor licenses and the collection of taxes on the sale of alcohol.


In New Jersey, restaurants and other establishments that want to serve alcohol must obtain a liquor license from the state's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). The process for obtaining a liquor license in New Jersey can be complex, and it involves several steps.

Here is a general overview of the process for obtaining a liquor license in New Jersey:

  1. Determine which type of liquor license is needed: There are several different types of liquor licenses available in New Jersey, including licenses for bars, restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. The type of license needed will depend on the specific nature of the business and the types of alcoholic beverages it will serve.

  2. Submit an application: The first step in obtaining a liquor license is to submit an application to the ABC. The application must be completed in full and must include all required supporting documents, such as proof of ownership, a site plan, and a certificate of occupancy.

  3. Pay the application fee: There is a fee associated with applying for a liquor license in New Jersey. The exact amount will depend on the type of license being sought.

  4. Wait for approval: Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the ABC. This process can take several months. If the application is approved, the applicant will be notified and can proceed with the next steps.

  5. Obtain a local liquor license: In addition to a state liquor license, a business may also need to obtain a local liquor license from the municipality where the business is located. This process will vary depending on the municipality, and it may involve obtaining approvals from local boards or committees.

  6. Complete any additional requirements: Once a state and local liquor license have been obtained, the business will need to complete any additional requirements, such as obtaining a liquor liability insurance policy and posting the required signs.

You can find more information about the process for obtaining a liquor license in New Jersey on the ABC's website, including details on the different types of licenses available, the application process, and the required fees. The website also includes a list of frequently asked questions and contact information for the ABC's office.

In addition to consulting with the ABC, you may also need to consult with the municipality where your business is located, as you may need to obtain a local liquor license in addition to a state license. The requirements for obtaining a local liquor license can vary depending on the municipality, so it's a good idea to check with your local government to find out what steps you need to take.

For example, a municipality may require that a certain distance be maintained between a package store and a school, church, or other sensitive use. They may also be able to require that package stores close earlier than the state-mandated closing time of 10:00 p.m., or that they only sell alcohol during certain hours of the day.

In addition, local municipalities may be able to impose additional fees on alcohol licenses, or require that licensees obtain additional permits or approvals. However, these additional requirements or restrictions must be consistent with state law and cannot conflict with state regulations.


In New Jersey, bars and other establishments that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption may serve alcohol between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, the hours are slightly different, with alcohol being served between noon and 2:00 a.m.

It's worth noting that these are the general rules, and that local municipalities may have the authority to impose additional restrictions on the hours of operation for bars and other licensed establishments. For example, a municipality may require that bars close earlier than 2:00 a.m., or that they only serve alcohol during certain hours of the day.


In New Jersey, liquor is sold at licensed retail establishments called "package stores." Here are some key points about the laws governing the sale of alcohol in New Jersey:

  • Package stores can sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption only.

  • The legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol in New Jersey is 21. It is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

  • Package stores can only sell alcohol from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, package stores can only sell alcohol between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

  • It is illegal to consume alcohol in a public place, with the exception of licensed premises such as bars and restaurants.

  • It is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated.


The ABC is responsible for enforcing the state's laws and regulations regarding the sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol. The ABC investigates and prosecutes violations of these laws and regulations, which can result in fines, license suspensions or revocations, and criminal charges.

The ABC has a team of investigators who are responsible for enforcing the state's alcohol laws and regulations. They may visit licensed establishments to ensure that they are complying with the law, and they may also investigate complaints of violations. In addition, the ABC works with local law enforcement agencies to enforce alcohol laws and regulations.

If the ABC determines that a violation has occurred, it can take a number of actions to enforce the law. This may include issuing a warning, imposing a fine, suspending or revoking a license, or referring the matter for criminal prosecution. The specific enforcement action taken will depend on the severity of the violation and the history of the licensee.

A New Jersey liquor license lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in helping clients navigate the process of obtaining a liquor license in the state of New Jersey. This can include assisting with the application process, representing clients in hearings or appeals, and advising clients on compliance with state and local laws and regulations.