Alcoholic beverages - Liquor Licenses and Beer Permits

Questions? Contact License Specialist, Wendy Mayer at 319-356-5042.  

New license applicants should contact Building Specialist, Cynthia Marx, at 319-356-5123 to verify zoning requirements.

To obtain an alcohol license within the City of Iowa City you must apply with the the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division and the City of Iowa City City Clerk's Office. The licensing process takes at least 30 days to complete and requires City Council approval prior to issuance.

Information regarding Alcoholic Beverages can be found in the Iowa City City Code, Title 4, Alcoholic Beverages.

Step 1 - Iowa ABD Application

For businesses that are involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages, a Liquor License or Beer Permit is necessary. These permits are issued by the state Alcoholic Beverages Division. Information and applications for new or renewal can be found on the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages website

In addition to the electronic filing of the application with the State the City has requirements which must be met before new or renewal licenses/permits are issued. 

Step 2 - City Application

The City's on-line Liquor License application must be accessed through the Self Service Portal (please use Internet Explorer).  Please see How to use the portal.

Access to the self-service portal requires a one-time registration process for use. Customers must designate a single email address for creating a portal account to receive email notifications about application status updates, invoices and process information. Within the on-line application you will need to submit/attach a City addendum and a sketch of the establishment.

New Businesses will also need to attach a Verified Statement and a copy of a lease or bill of sale.

DCI background checks for each owner and manager must be sent to the License Specialist, Wendy Mayer. DCI background checks are $15/each, payment must be received with application submittal.  If you have questions please call 319-356-5042.

Step 3 - Additional Privileges (optional) 

If you would like to add an additional privilege to you license, you must use the following forms and submit/attach with your on-line application.

Outdoor Service Area

Selling alcohol outdoors on private property requires an Outdoor Service Area Permit please use this link for the application and contact the City Clerk's office if you have any questions.  Additional information can be found in the Iowa City City Code, Title 4, Chapter 3.

Persons Under the Legal Age in Licensed or Permitted Establishments

Your business may be eligible for an under 21 Exception permit or Entertainment permit. This allows people under 21 in the establishment after 10:00 pm. Please call the City Clerk's office if you have any questions concerning these types of permits. Additional information can be found in the Iowa City City Code, Title 4, Chapter 5, Section 8.

Sidewalk cafe

A sidewalk cafe is an area for the sale of alcohol, food or beverages on City-owned property. A number of requirements must be met before the application and application fee can be processed by the Public Works Department.  Additional information can be found in the Iowa City City Code, Title 10, Chapter 10, Section 3.

Contact: Public Works Department 319-356-5139