Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. Application Requirements.


§ 25–401. Form of application.

(a) A person applying for issuance, transfer to a new owner, or renewal of a license, or for approval of substantial changes in operation or change in license class, shall file with the Board an application in the form prescribed by the Board. The application shall contain the information set forth in this chapter and any additional information that the Board may require.

(b) A separate application shall be filed for each establishment for which a license is sought; provided, that a railroad company may file one application for all of its dining cars and club cars and a passenger-carrying marine vessel line may file one application for all of its passenger-carrying marine vessels and dockside waiting areas.

(c) An individual applicant, all of the general partners of an applicant partnership, all of the members of a limited liability company, or the president or vice-president of an applicant corporation shall sign a notarized statement certifying that the application is complete and accurate. Any person who knowingly makes a false statement on an application, or in any accompanying statement under oath that the Mayor or the Board may require, shall be guilty of the offense of making false statements. The making of a false statement, whether made with or without the knowledge or consent of the applicant, shall, in the discretion of the Board, constitute sufficient cause for denial of the application or revocation of the license.

(d) It shall be a primary tier violation for a person to knowingly submit an altered document or application to the Board for the purpose of deceiving the Board. The submission of an altered document intended to deceive the Board, may, at the discretion of the Board, constitute sufficient cause for denial of the application or revocation of the license.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 327, ch. 4, § 14; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 802, 803, ch. 766, §§ 1, 2; June 15, 1938, 52 Stat. 691, ch. 396, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 103, ch. 159, § 404(e), (f); Aug. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 616, Pub. L. 90-450, title IV, § 404; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-146, § 4, 27 DCR 4753; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 8, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(4), (c), 30 DCR 5927; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-97, § 2, 31 DCR 2556; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 9, 34 DCR 907; June 5, 1987, D.C. Law 7-7, § 2, 34 DCR 2640; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 5859; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(f), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(q)(2), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-39, § 2, 46 DCR 6548; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Mar. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-84, § 2(d), 63 DCR 781.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-401.

1973 Ed., § 25-115.

Effect of Amendments

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-84 added (d).


§ 25–402. New license application for manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer.

(a) The application of a person applying for a manufacturer’s, wholesaler’s, or retailer’s license shall include:

(1) In the case of an individual applicant, the trade name of the business, if applicable, and the name and address of the individual; in the case of a partnership or limited liability company applicant, the trade name of the business, if applicable, and the names and addresses of each member of the partnership or limited liability company; and in the case of a corporate applicant, the legal name, trade name, place of incorporation, principal place of business, and the names and addresses of each of the corporation’s principal officers, directors, and shareholders holding, directly or beneficially, 10% or more of its common stock;

(2) The name and address of the owner of the establishment for which the license is sought and the premises where it is located; provided, that this requirement shall not apply to applicants for a solicitor’s license;

(3) The class of license sought;

(4) The proximity of the establishment to the nearest public or private, elementary, middle, charter, junior high, or high school, and the name of the school;

(5) The size and design of the establishment, which shall include both the number of seats (occupants) and the number of patrons permitted to be standing, both inside and on any sidewalk café or summer garden.

(6) A detailed description of the nature of the proposed operation, including the following:

(A) The type of food to be offered, if any;

(B) The type of entertainment to be offered, if any;

(C) The goods and services to be offered for sale, in addition to alcoholic beverages, if any;

(D) The hours during which the establishment plans to sell alcoholic beverages;

(E) If different from those stated in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph, the hours during which the establishment plans to remain open for the sale of goods or services other than alcoholic beverages and a description of the provisions planned for the storage of the alcoholic beverages, as required under § 25-754, during hours when the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited;

(7) An affidavit that complies with § 47-2863(b);

(8) Documents or other written statements or evidence establishing to the satisfaction of the Board that the person applying for the license meets all of the qualifications set forth in § 25-301; and

(9) Written statements or evidence establishing to the satisfaction of the Board that the applicant has complied with the requirements of § 25-423.

(b) The applicant for a restaurant or hotel license shall attest that it will receive at least 45% of its gross annual receipts from the sale of food during each year of the license period.

(c) The Board shall establish application procedures for the issuance of a caterer’s license under § 25-211(b).

(d)(1) The applicant for a nightclub license shall file a written security plan with the Board.

(2) The Board may require, in its sound discretion, the applicant for a restaurant, tavern, or multipurpose facility license to file a written security plan with the Board.

(3) A written security plan filed pursuant to this subsection shall include at least the following elements:

(A) A statement on the type of security training provided for, and completed by, establishment personnel, including:

(i) Conflict resolution training;

(ii) Procedures for handling violent incidents, other emergencies, and calling the Metropolitan Police Department; and

(iii) Procedures for crowd control and preventing overcrowding;

(B) The establishment’s procedures for permitting patrons to enter;

(C) A description of how security personnel are stationed inside and in front of the establishment and the number and location of cameras used by the establishment;

(D) Procedures in place to prevent patrons from becoming intoxicated and ensuring that only persons 21 years or older are served alcohol;

(E) A description of how the establishment maintains an incident log; and

(F) The establishment’s procedures for preserving a crime scene.

(G) [Repealed].

(4)(A) If cameras are required to be installed by the Board or in accordance with the establishment's security plan or settlement agreement, the establishment shall ensure that:

(i) The cameras utilized by the establishment are operational;

(ii) Any footage of a crime of violence or a crime involving a gun is maintained for a minimum of 30 days; and

(iii) The security footage is made available within 48 hours upon the request of ABRA or the Metropolitan Police Department.

(B) If the licensee knows or reasonably should know that the cameras are not operational, the licensee shall notify the Board within 10 days of learning that the cameras are not operating and provide the Board with proof of corrective maintenance.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 327, ch. 4, § 14; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 802, 803, ch. 766, §§ 1, 2; June 15, 1938, 52 Stat. 691, ch. 396, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 103, ch. 159, § 404(e), (f); Aug. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 616, Pub. L. 90-450, title IV, § 404; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-146, § 4, 27 DCR 4753; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 8, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(4), (c), 30 DCR 5927; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-97, § 2, 31 DCR 2556; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 9, 34 DCR 907; June 5, 1987, D.C. Law 7-7, § 2, 34 DCR 2640; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 5859; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(f), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(q)(2), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-39, § 2, 46 DCR 6548; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-192, § 1012(b), 53 DCR 6899; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 17-201, § 4(b), 55 DCR 6289; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353,§ 242, 56 DCR 1117; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(m), 60 DCR 3410; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-260, § 2(d)(1), 64 DCR 2079.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-402.

1973 Ed., § 25-115.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-404 and § 25-433.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-192, in subsec. (a)(1), substituted “shareholders holding, directly or beneficially, 10% or more of its common stock” for “shareholders holding 25% or more of its common stock”.

D.C. Law 17-201 rewrote subsec. (a)(6); and added subsecs. (d), (e), and (f). Prior to repeal, subsec. (a)(6) read as follows: “(6) The size and design of the establishment for which the license is sought;”

D.C. Law 17-353, in subsec. (a), redesignated former pars. (6) to (10) as pars. (5) to (9), respectively.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-310 redesignated former (d), (e), and (f) as (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3), respectively; and rewrote (d)(3).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1012(b) of Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-477, August 8, 2006, 53 DCR 7068).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1012(b) of Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-499, October 23, 2006, 53 DCR 8845).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1012(b) of Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-1, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1165).

For temporary amendment of (d) through (f), see § 2(m) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(m) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).


§ 25–403. License renewal application for manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer.

(a) An applicant for license renewal shall verify, by affidavit, the accuracy of its application, including all documents and submissions constituting a part of the application for its initial license or, if appropriate, at the time of a Board-approved substantial change in operation.

(b) In the case of an application for renewal of a restaurant or hotel license, the applicant shall present evidence establishing that the sale of food accounted for at least 45% of gross annual receipts from the operation of the restaurant or of the dining room of the hotel during the current license period.

(c) The applicant shall submit documents or other written evidence establishing to the satisfaction of the Board that the applicant has complied with the requirements of § 25-423.

(d) The Board shall establish application procedures for the renewal of a caterer’s license under § 25-211(b).

(e)(1) In the case of an application for renewal of a nightclub license, the applicant shall submit a written security plan.

(2) In the case of an application for renewal for a restaurant, tavern, or multipurpose facility license, the Board may, in its sound discretion, require that the applicant submit a written security plan.

(3) A written security plan filed pursuant to this subsection shall include at least the following elements:

(A) A statement on the type of security training provided for, and completed by, establishment personnel, including:

(i) Conflict resolution training;

(ii) Procedures for handling violent incidents, other emergencies, and calling the Metropolitan Police Department; and

(iii) Procedures for crowd control and preventing overcrowding;

(B) The establishment’s procedures for permitting patrons to enter;

(C) A description of how security personnel are stationed inside and in front of the establishment and the number and location of cameras used by the establishment;

(D) Procedures in place to prevent patrons from becoming intoxicated and ensuring that only persons 21 years or older are served alcohol;

(E) A description of how the establishment maintains an incident log;

(F) The establishment’s procedures for preserving a crime scene; and

(G) In the event that cameras are required to be installed by the Board or in accordance with the establishment’s security plan, the establishment shall ensure the following:

(i) The cameras utilized by the establishment are operational;

(ii) Any footage of a crime of violence or a crime involving a gun is maintained for a minimum of 30 days; and

(iii) The security footage is made available within 48 hours upon the request of ABRA or the Metropolitan Police Department.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 327, ch. 4, § 14; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 802, 803, ch. 766, §§ 1, 2; June 15, 1938, 52 Stat. 691, ch. 396, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 103, ch. 159, § 404(e), (f); Aug. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 616, Pub. L. 90-450, title IV, § 404; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-146, § 4, 27 DCR 4753; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 8, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(4), (c), 30 DCR 5927; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-97, § 2, 31 DCR 2556; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 9, 34 DCR 907; June 5, 1987, D.C. Law 7-7, § 2, 34 DCR 2640; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 5859; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(f), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(q)(2), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-39, § 2, 46 DCR 6548; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 17-201, § 4(c), 55 DCR 6289; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(n), 60 DCR 3410.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-403.

1973 Ed., § 25-115.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-201 added subsecs. (e), (f), and (g).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-310 redesignated (e), (f), and (g) as (e)(1), (e)(2), and (e)(3), respectively; and rewrote (e)(3).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of (e), (f) and (g), see § 2(n) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(n) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).


§ 25–404. Application for approval of substantial change in operation.

(a) Before making a substantial change in the nature of the operation of the licensed establishment, an applicant shall file with the Board an amendment to its application or last application, providing the information required on an application under § 25-402(a).

(b)(1) If the Board determines that the proposed change to the nature of the operation is substantial:

(A) It shall provide notice of the licensee’s amended filing to the same persons and in the same manner required for license renewal applications in subchapter II of this chapter; and

(B) The applicant requesting approval of a substantial change shall demonstrate appropriateness as set forth in §§ 25-313 and 25-314.

(2) There shall be no presumption of appropriateness with respect to substantial change applications. If the applicant fails to demonstrate that the proposed change in the nature of operation is appropriate for the locality, section, or portion of the District where the establishment is located, the Board shall disapprove the proposed change.

(3) In determining whether the proposed changes are substantial, the Board shall consider whether they are potentially of concern to the residents or businesses surrounding the establishment.

(c) If proper notice has been given as provided under subchapter II of this chapter, and no objection to the appropriateness of the proposed substantial change in the nature of the operation of the establishment is filed with the Board during the protest period, the proposed change shall be presumed appropriate for the locality, section, or portion of the District where it is located.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 327, ch. 4, § 14; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 802, 803, ch. 766, §§ 1, 2; June 15, 1938, 52 Stat. 691, ch. 396, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 103, ch. 159, § 404(e), (f); Aug. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 616, Pub. L. 90-450, title IV, § 404; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-146, § 4, 27 DCR 4753; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 8, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(4), (c), 30 DCR 5927; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-97, § 2, 31 DCR 2556; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 9, 34 DCR 907; June 5, 1987, D.C. Law 7-7, § 2, 34 DCR 2640; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 5859; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(f), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(q)(2), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-39, § 2, 46 DCR 6548; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-404.

1973 Ed., § 25-115.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-101, § 25-313, § 25-316, § 25-361, § 25-421, § 25-431, § 25-601, and § 25-762.


§ 25–405. Application for transfer to new owner.

(a) A voluntary transaction which results in (1) the transfer to an individual of 50% or more of the legal or beneficial ownership of (A) the licensed establishment, or (B) the entity owning or controlling the licensed establishment, or (2) a change in stock ownership or partnership interest of 50% or more, within any 12 month period, shall require application for transfer of the license to new owners from the Board.

(b) An application to transfer a license to a new owner shall be filed by the transferee and approved by the Board before the consummation of the transfer.

(c) An applicant requesting the transfer of a license to a new owner shall submit documents and other written statements and evidence requesting written approval of the transfer and establishing to the satisfaction of the Board that the new owner meets all of the qualifications set forth in § 25-301.

(d) The current licensee shall submit an affidavit which complies with § 47-2863(b).

(e) If the Board finds that the licensee is in violation of this title or regulations promulgated under this title, the Board shall deny the application for transfer.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-316.


§ 25–406. Application for a solicitor’s license.

The application for the issuance or renewal of a solicitor’s license shall include:

(1) The full name and home address of the applicant, if an individual;

(2) The business name and address of the applicant;

(3) The name, business address, and business telephone number for the vendor that the applicant represents; and

(4) Written statements and evidence establishing to the satisfaction of the Board that the applicant meets all of the qualifications set forth in § 25-301.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)


§ 25–407. Application for a brew pub permit.

The application for issuance or renewal of a brew pub permit shall include:

(1) A copy of the applicant’s restaurant or tavern license, or a copy of the pending application for a license; and

(2) A map showing the relation of the restaurant or tavern to the premises to be used to brew malt beverages.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)


§ 25–408. Application for a tasting permit.

The application for a new or the renewal of a tasting permit issued in accordance with § 25-118 shall include a diagram of the premises indicating the areas where sampling is to occur and the hours and days during which the tasting is to occur.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(d)(2), 65 DCR 9366.)


§ 25–409. Application for importation permit.

The application for issuance or renewal of a importation permit shall include:

(1) The quantity, character, and brand or trade name of the alcoholic beverage to be transported; and

(2) The name and address of the retailer.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)


§ 25–410. Application for manager’s license.

The application for a manager’s license shall include:

(1) Certification that he or she has obtained [and] read a copy of this title;

(2) Written statements or evidence establishing to the satisfaction of the Board that the applicant meets all of the qualifications set forth in § 25-301; and

(3) A copy of the applicant’s alcohol training and education certificate.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, § 101(r), 51 DCR 6525.)

Prior Codifications

For D.C. Law 13-298, see notes following § 25-101.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-187, in pars. (1) and (2), made nonsubstantive changes; and added par. (3).


§ 25–411. Application and responsibilities of pool buying retail agent.

(a) The application for a pool buying group retail agent permit shall include:

(1) The name of the pool buying group;

(2) The appointed license retail agent for the pool buying group; and

(3) A statement that the agent will fully comply with Chapter 9 and other regulations regarding recordkeeping.

(b) All taxes due on alcoholic beverages imported by an agent who has been issued an importation license shall be paid as prescribed in Chapter 9.

(c) Pool buying agents shall maintain the records of each pool order placed for 3 years. The records shall include:

(1) The date the pool order was placed and each date it was revised;

(2) The distributor who was given the order;

(3) The names and license numbers of each pool member participating in the pool order;

(4) The price, discounts, and net price of all alcoholic beverages ordered by each member in the pool order; and

(5) The date when deliveries of pool orders are made to the pool buying agent’s premises, which is a permitted off-premises storage area.

(d) The pool buying agent shall place the order under the name of the pool buying group and provide instructions for delivery as well as each licensed retailer’s part of the pool order.

(e) Upon written request, a pool buying agent shall make available for inspection all papers and reports related to pool orders, purchases, and payments within 10 days to any ABRA employee.

(f)(1) Individual members of a pool buying group shall place their orders and remit their payment to the pool buying agent.

(2) Payments shall be made payable to the pool buying agent or the distributor.

(3) Distributors of alcoholic beverages may accept pool orders and payment only from the designated pool buying agent of a pool buying group.


(Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, § 401(h), 51 DCR 6525.)

References in Text

“Chapter 9”, referred to in par. (3) of subsec. (a) and in subsec. (b), is Chapter 9 of this title.

Editor's Notes

Sections 402 and 403 of D.C. Law 15-187 provided:

“Sec. 402. Rules and regulations.

“The Mayor shall promulgate proposed rules and regulations to administer this title within 180 days of its effective date. The proposed rules and regulations, as well as any subsequent rules and regulations amending this title, shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess, If the Council does not approve or disapprove the rules and regulations, in whole or in part, by resolution with the 45-day review period, the proposed rules and regulations shall be deemed approved.

“Sec. 403. Applicability.

“Section 401 shall apply upon the effective date of the regulations promulgated under section 402.”


§ 25–412. Qualifications hearing.

(a) The Board may hold a qualifications hearing before issuing, transferring, or renewing a license or permit to determine if the applicant, licensee, or permittee meets the criterion set forth in § 25-301.

(b) A qualifications hearing shall be considered a contested hearing pursuant to § 2-509.

(c) The Board shall give notice to the applicant, licensee, or permittee, by personal service or certified mail, requiring the applicant to appear before the Board within 15 calendar days after receipt of the notice to provide evidence establishing that the applicant, licensee, or permittee meets the criterion set forth in § 25-301.

(d) The hearing notice required by subsection (c) of this section shall include:

(1) The criterion, as set forth in § 25-301, about which the Board is requesting information;

(2) The evidence to be considered by the Board at the hearing, including documentation, exhibits, investigative reports, or electronic or digitally stored information; and

(3) The conditions, if any, that the Board is considering imposing on the applicant pursuant to § 25-104.

(e) If after notice has been provided, as required by subsection (c) of the section, the applicant refuses or otherwise fails to appear at the hearing, the Board may hold the hearing ex parte pursuant to § 25-447(e).

(f)(1) The Board shall deny the issuance, transfer, or renewal of a license or permit application if it determines that the applicant does not meet the criterion set forth in § 25-301.

(2) In issuing or renewing a license, approving a transfer, or granting a permit, the Board may require that certain conditions be met, consistent with the requirements set forth in § 25-104.


(Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(d)(3), 65 DCR 9366.)