Liquor Licensing Trends for New York State Hotels

Liquor Licensing Trends for  New York State Hotels

A growing trend in the hotel industry is the addition of “market” areas within hotels, where guests can purchase a variety of items, including microwave meals, snacks and beverages. If a hotel wants to sell alcoholic beverages from its market, it must hold a liquor license. New York’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law does not currently have a mechanism for licensing these “markets,” but there are ways hotels in the state can obtain a liquor license for these areas.

If a hotel holds a hotel liquor license, which is common in a full-service hotel, it may apply for an additional bar license to sell alcoholic beverages in its market. In a hotel with a liquor license, guests are permitted to take alcohol to their rooms and other areas of the hotel to consume. Guests, however, cannot leave the hotel with wine or hard liquor purchased in the hotel, although they can take beer off the premises.

If a hotel does not hold a liquor license, as is typical in limited-service hotels, it may apply for a liquor license specifically for the market. This type of license requires that the hotel sell food items in the market and provide seating within it or adjoining it. To meet the minimum food requirements, the offerings must be more substantial than chips and crackers, and can include such things as microwave meals, soups, salads and sandwiches. While beer may be taken out of the market area or an adjoining seating area included within the licensed premises, wine and liquor must be consumed in the market/seating area.

Please note that the sale of wine and/or spirits in hotel markets has one additional requirement: Hotel employees must “serve” the wine and/or spirits to guests (i.e., uncork the wine or pour/mix spirits).

theresa russo and alissa yohey