In order to open a licensed establishment serving alcohol to be consumed on the premises, interested persons must apply for a licence to sell/serve alcohol (licence de cabaretage) to the Licensed Premises Service (Service cabaretage) of the Customs and Excise Agency (Administration des douanes et accises)
They must pay an opening tax (taxe d'ouverture) and then an annual tax.
The operating permit will only be granted to an existing drinking establishment (the premises) which the owner makes available to the operator.
Any natural or legal person wishing to open or operate a licensed establishment serving alcoholic beverages to be consumed on the premises must obtain an alcohol licence.
The establishment can be registered in the name of another person than the one managing the establishment. However, the registration must indicate the name of the effective manager.
The sale of alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content below 0.5 % alcohol is not subject to an alcohol licence.
In order to obtain an authorisation to operate a drinking establishment, the applicant must:
A new drinking establishment can only be opened in a commune where the number of establishments does not exceed one establishment per 500 inhabitants, except in the case of:
villages with at least 250 inhabitants where one drinking establishment can be opened, provided there is no drinking establishment yet;
privileged houses (maisons privilégiées), in which a drinking establishment can be taken over or continued regardless of the permit quotas;
a relinquishment of a free licence valid for the same commune (licence volante) by the person in whose name the licence is established, or a relinquishment of an unconditional licence right by the owner of the privileged house in the same commune;
an authorisation granted by the Minister of Finance, in the communes where the tourism needs justify such establishments or any other exceptional cases justified by the general interest.
The applicant must pay the competent Custom's revenue office:
Interested persons must complete a demande d'autorisation de cabaretage and have their signature legalised by presenting themselves in person with the completed application form and an identity document:
or directly at the Licensed Premises Service when submitting the application
The application must be accompanied by the following documents:
a plan of the premises used for the drinking establishment in A3 or A4 format (a hand-drawn plan is enough);
about the business:
about the operator (natural or legal person):
a copy of the business permit;
about the manager (natural person):
depending on the case:
Following the payment of stamp duty, the operator will receive an excise stamp (vignette de contrôle d'accises - VCA) which is valid for the current year.
The excise stamp must be affixed and displayed in such a manner that it is visible from the outside of the establishment.
Alcohol licences granted are only valid for one establishment and only in the premises and area specified in the application.
In order to be allowed to sell alcohol, the physical presence in the establishment of the officially declared manager is mandatory.
However, the manager can appoint an assistant manager who will be responsible for selling alcoholic beverages in the absence of the manager.
The operator must renew his licence each year by paying the annual stamp duty for licensed premises before 31 January. The Customs and Excise Agency usually sends out a payment order to operators at the beginning of each year.
Secondary expansions, such as terraces, ninepin bowling alleys, party rooms, restaurants and other outhouses, do not require approval.