In order to sell alcoholic beverages at an eating or drinking
establishment or at a special occasion within the City of Bellingham, a
State liquor license is required. The Washington State
Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) issues the license only after receiving
input from the City, and each application is investigated individually. To
apply for a license, see the
Applicant FAQ's on the WSLCB website. The process typically
requires 45 days from date of application (up to 60 days if applying in an
Alcohol Impact Area).
Following is a general outline of the process followed once a Liquor
License application is received at the City of Bellingham:
- Review by Bellingham Police, Building Services, Finance and Fire
Departments. Review includes checking business license and
registration, background check, permitting, fire safety and occupancy.
- Review by
Whatcom County Health Department
- Approval by the Mayor's Office following all other reviews and
- Application is returned to the WSLCB for issuance of license.
If a department needs additional time to accomplish their investigation,
the City is able to request a “commitment term” from the WSCLB that requires
the applicant to fulfill outstanding obligations to the City of Bellingham
before they are able to obtain approval for their liquor license. All
investigations within the City happen concurrently with the WSCLB’s license
review process. See
Applicant FAQ's for more information on that process.
Special Occasion Liquor License
The most common type of liquor license received in the Mayor’s Office is
Special Occasion Liquor License, where a bona fide nonprofit
organization sells liquor at a specific time, date and place. Examples of
events include fundraising dinners, gala events, auctions, and wine
tastings. These require the same investigation process as any other
liquor license application, therefore 45 days for approval.
A private function may apply for a
Banquet Permit through the Washington State Liquor Control Board by
Contact Tracy Lewis in the Mayor's Office at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-8100 for more