We’ve all been to a restaurant grand opening that has only beer and no wine, or whiskey but no beer. Here’s how to make sure you’ve got liquor, wine and beer in Memphis, when you open the doors.

Beer Permit

The beer permit office will not accept your application unless it’s complete and your use and occupancy certificate is included. The building department on Mullins Station issues U&O certificates. After you pass your final inspection, you may be able to convince the inspector to file your U&O card later that day or the next morning. If he does, then you can go beg the building department to print your U&O certificate the next day. Otherwise they will mail it a week or so later.

You have to file your application by the meeting before the meeting you want to be heard. The beer board meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month. That means if you want you beer permit by the end of August you need to file your application by August 3 to be heard on August 17.

You can get a special beer permit good for up to 30 days as long as you file by noon on the Friday before the next meeting. In this case that would be August 12 be be heard on August 17.

Liquor License

You must have your U&O certificate to file your application.

First the Memphis TABC office will review your application. They generally only look at new applications on Mondays. They will schedule an officer to come out and inspect your kitchen, count your seats, etc. If your application is in order they will send it on to Nashville TABC for further review, IF Tennessee Department of Revenue also clears your application. Revenue can take weeks to notify you of issues so best to get it right the first time (bond, etc) and email them directly at liquor.tax@tn.gov to make sure they approve and notify TABC. Once Nashville gets your application they generally take about two weeks to issue their approval to the Memphis office, which will then notify liquor distributors and you that your license is approved. I’ve never seen this process take less than three weeks, but I guess it’s possible it could be done in 10 days.