Opening a nightclub serving alcohol in North Carolina is a challenging task. The state's Alcohol Beverage Control board is reluctant to issue a liquor license and local cities and counties often add their own restrictions. Before you even apply for your license, for instance, you'll have to buy or lease the premises and be able to prove it. If the license is turned down, you're stuck with the property or lease.

Things You Will Need
  • Lease or deed

  • Local government permission

  • Plot of premises

  • Federal basic permit

Check with your town and/or county authorities to make sure that nightclubs are even allowed. Some counties are dry and serving alcohol is forbidden; others have very strict zoning laws for clubs. Get an official letter saying that your site meets regulations to serve alcohol.

Apply for and receive your Federal basic alcohol permit.

Lease or purchase the premises.

Get fingerprints of yourself and any partners or officers of your company taken by local police. You will need to submit cards of all key personnel, and will have to submit fingerprints of future employees when they are hired.

Have a plot of your premises made up, including dimensions, areas where alcohol will be served, guest capacity, parking capacity and location of entrances and exits. An inspector will likely confirm these data, so make sure everything is accurate.

Apply for your liquor permit by mailing all paperwork and a certified check for the applicable fee to 4307 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4307.


You and your partners and other officers of your company must be 21 years of age and have clean recent criminal records. This includes no felony convictions within the past three years, no convictions within the past two years involving alcohol or controlled substances, and not having a previous liquor permit revoked. A serious felony or lengthy jail sentence may disqualify you altogether.