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How Do I Apply For A License?

Most businesses are required to hold a business license from the City of Chicago and / or the State of Illinois. Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) provides a list of businesses that may be exempt. You can apply for a city license online or by visiting room 800 of City Hall.

Amusement and Entertainment (PPA, PAV, ETC)

A Public Place of Amusement or PPA License is required for many types of businesses or non-profits that produce, present or conduct any type of amusement. This includes live theater, child activity centers, music venues, facilities rented for parties and venues with DJ’s. If your venue has a capacity of over 99 people, you are required to hold a PPA – regardless of whether you charge for entertainment. Performing Arts Venue or PAV license can be used by smaller theaters.

Liquor Licenses


Liquor licensure is regulated by the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP), and the Local Liquor Control Commission. As part of the application process, businesses may need to obtain the alderman’s input. In the 40th Ward, as part of the input process, community groups like block clubs and chambers of commerce are sent information on the applications and asked for feedback. Typical community concerns raised are noise, littering, and other nuisance and criminal activities. Potential licensees should do everything to proactively address these concerns. You can read more at Chicago’s quick guide to liquor licensing. If you have any questions about this process, please contact

Be mindful that some areas have moratorium that prohibit the issuance or transfer of tavern or packaged goods licenses. Please consult this website to find if you are applying in one of those areas.

New Licenses

Those seeking new licenses should email or call (773) 762-1771.

Sale or Transfer


Those seeking to lift a moratorium for an existing business for sale or transfer need to contact the 22nd Ward office at or call (773) 762-1771. At that time, it will be distributed to relevant neighborhood associations and chambers of commerce.

There are some areas of the city that have been “voted dry” or have a moratorium on liquor licenses. Please contact the 22nd Ward office if you believe your proposed business may be in one of these areas.

Common Business Licenses

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