U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Patron eating outside a resturant

Apply for a Common Victualler License

License Commission

A Common Victualler License is issued by the Cambridge License Commission. Every food service establishment with the capabilities for cooking, preparing, and serving food and which provides seating for the immediate consumption therein, is required to have a Common Victualler License.

The Common Victualler License is governed by Massachusetts General Law c. 140. It takes approximately four to six weeks to process the application and, if approved, issue the license.

How to Start

Step 1:

The applicant should go to the Online Application Portal and complete the Common Victualler, Alcohol and/or Entertainment application online.

Step 2:

The application will be review by License Commission staff for completeness and accuracy. Inspectional Service Department (ISD) Staff will review to confirm proper zoning.  

Step 3:

Once reviewed, the applicant will then be asked to submit a $100 hearing fee, or $175 if required to advertise. You will receive notice of the hearing date. At the hearing, testimony from the applicant and any interested party will be taken. Persons in support or opposition to the application have an opportunity to speak at the hearing as well. The Board's vote on the application will be made known to the applicant and public at a hearing, and to the applicant via correspondence with any further instructions for fulfilling outstanding requirements.

Step 4:

After the applicant fulfills all post-hearing requirements and submits all necessary paperwork, the annual fee for the license must be tendered for the license to be issued.



$175 (if advertisement & hearing required); $100 (if no advertisement required). If approved, the annual license fee will be based on the licensed seating capacity, see Fee Schedule.

NO ADVERTISEMENT -notice to abutters

ADVERTISEMENT- Notice to Abutters

To set a hearing the application to the License Commission must include:

(1) a completed online Common Victualler License application

(2) Criminal Offender Record Information release check form

(3) Zoning sign-off from the Inspectional Services Department

(4) 8.5” x 11” floor plan specifying the entrances and exits, seating arrangement and any bars or booths

(5) If a corporation, a copy of the Articles of Organization or a copy of the Business Certificate (DBA) filed with the City Clerk’s Office

(6) Signed lease or a letter of intent from the landlord

Page was last modified on 5/1/2024 3:28 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement

Service Requests

Enter a service request via SeeClickFix for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.