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Queens Comfort Gets Liquor License... After 18 Months

Congratulations are in order after beloved Queens restaurant Queens Comfort located at 36-18 30th Ave in Astoria obtained their liquor license. For years the establishment operated as a BYOB* establishment, so it is great to see it obtain a liquor license so it is protected properly and generating additional revenue. Their licensing process, however, was not without a large serving of sloppy joe. Their Instagram account detailed their long 18-month process stating, in part:

“The wait was all due to the fact that several jobs filed with the DOB decades ago were not handled properly, and we inherited the responsibility of correcting the situation. Given that we had been advised that nothing was going to stand in the way of getting the license, this came as a pretty big curveball.”

Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence that results from numerous reasons, but one reason more than others: inexperience. Not all license applications are the same and only experience will enable an applicant or their representative to determine when and under what circumstances a unique issue will need to be addressed and when. Attorney advertisements often state that “past performance is not a guarantee of future results” and there is nowhere else it applies as much as it does with liquor license applications.

The State Liquor Authority has broad discretion and numerous factors, including on-going changes with the law, environmental factors, and internal processes and personnel changes, play a vital role determining whether an applicant is granted a license. This requires a broad depth of knowledge to navigate the license process successfully and make sure a seemingly simple application does not become a large serving of sloppy joe.

In the case of Queens Comfort, proper property due diligence at either the leasing stage or the liquor license application stage would have prevented foreseeable and costly issues. Thorough due diligence at the leasing stage would have prevented or reduced the burden of them from inheriting the Department of Building (“DOB”) issues. While thorough due diligence at the license application stage would have enable Queens Comfort to properly address the DOB issues before or during the application process. Check out Getting a Liquor License in NYC – 3 Things You Must Know for a discussion on property due diligence. The Department of Building (“DOB”) issues are not in and of themselves blocks to obtaining a liquor license but can be significant barriers and, in some instances, cost prohibitive to applying for a license.

Queen Comfort is a cautionary tale, thankfully, it turned out fine for them.

Contact The James Firm today if you would like to learn more about how you can get a liquor license in New York. The James Firm is an NYC Law Firm helping businesses obtain liquor licenses so they can build multi-million dollar businesses. You may contact us by phone or email here.

* “BYOB”, or “Bring Your Own Bottle,” where owners of establishments allow their customers to bring alcoholic beverages to their premises to be consumed on site, is not permit in unlicensed businesses in New York State. You must have a license or permit to sell/serve beer, wine or liquor to the public. Venues without a license or permit may not allow patrons to “bring their own” alcoholic beverages for consumption. In addition, owners of businesses may not give away alcoholic beverages to their patrons. Allowing BYOB without a license may jeopardize their chances for approval of their license.

Michael JamesLiquor Licensing