license commission

Package Goods Store License


Liquor Store

Package Goods Store License

Issued by: License Commission

Governed By: Massachusetts General Law ch. 138, 12, 15 and Cambridge Regulations

Process Length: Eight to ten weeks, minimum.

Fee: $175 hearing and advertising fee; $10 for each record check; $200 for Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC). The annual license fee ranges from $1500/year to $2330/year.

Notes: Some areas of Cambridge have a cap on liquor licenses.


Step 1:

For a new package goods store license or to transfer an existing license, the applicant must complete:

  1. typed Cover Sheet for Liquor License Petition
  2. typed Liquor License Application
  3. Criminal Record Check Form
  4. Licensed Premises Inspection Approval (to be taken to ISD)
  5. Licensee Personal Information Sheet (Form A)
  6. if the liquor license is being transferred, there are additional forms which must be completed

Additional information to be provided to the License Commission includes:

  1. a copy of a DBA Certificate/Business Certificate
  2. a copy of stamped Articles of Organization (if a corporation)
  3. floor Plan (on 8.5"x11" paper, showing the exact square footage of amount of alcohol including shelving, displays and coolers
  4. a vote of the Board of Directors (if a corporation)
  5. proof of Citizenship (birth certificate, voter's registration card, or a valid U.S. Passport)
  6. a signed lease or a letter of intent from the landlord
  7. a copy of a purchase and sales agreement (for transfer applicants)

Step 2:

The applicant must submit the Licensed Premises Inspection Approval form to the Inspectional Services Department for approval.

Step 3:

The applicant must submit all completed forms, other required documentation and application fees. The License Commission will schedule a hearing on the second or fourth Tuesday of the month. Prior to the hearing, the applicant is required to contact neighborhood groups and abutters. Hearings typically address such issues as noise, trash, parking and overall operation & character of applicant and manager. A money order or a cashier's check for $200, payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, must also be submitted.

At the decision hearing, the License Commission will approve/disapprove the application. If approved, the License Commission will forward the application to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for final approval. If disapproved, the applicant can appeal to ABCC within five days of receipt of the License Commission's decision.

Step 4:

The ABCC is a state agency which issues final approval/disapproval. Upon reaching a decision, the application will be sent back to the License Commission. Upon ABCC approval, the License Commission will issue an approval letter explaining remaining fees and inspection approvals due before license is issued.

Step 5:

ISD will inspect the premises for compliance with sanitary codes and, if approved, issue a health sign-off. If the applicant has a valid food handler's permit, ISD health sign-off is not required.

Step 6:

The Fire Department will automatically inspect the site based on the License Commission's hearing agenda.

Visiting City Hall

Cambridge City Hall

795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA, 02139
Ph: 617-349-4000
TTY: 617-349-4242

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Louis DePasquale
City Manager

Lisa C. Peterson
Deputy City Manager