Liquor License Reform

Liquor License Reform

Why reform?

New Jersey’s liquor license laws are among the most restrictive in the country. In fact, the cost of a license in many of our municipalities can easily soar into the six or seven figures – if they are even available. Liquor license restrictions impede the economic development of many of our communities, especially our downtowns. 

NJ Spotlight OpEd:
NJ’s restaurants and downtowns need liquor license reform now!

With the recent introduction of S2964/A4925, Senator Gopal and Assemblyman Bergen recently joined the chorus of legislators calling for expansion of liquor license laws. Downtown New Jersey President, Bob Zuckerman, made the economic and equity case for reform in an OpEd published by NJ Spotlight. Read OpEd>
 

Liquor License Reform White Paper 

In January 2018, DNJ provided the then new Murphy administration’s transition team with insights into legislative, regulatory, and administrative initiatives that impact the state’s downtown commercial districts. Among the topics was liquor license reform.  Read White Paper>
 

Liquor License Reform Town Hall

On December 4, 2020, Downtown New Jersey hosted a Town Hall event, where Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Morris), Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Mayor Shelley Brindle (Township of Westfield), George Constantinou (Mil Gustos Hospitality Group/Miti Miti Latin Street Food, South Orange, NJ), and Tony Pizzutillo (Pizzutillo Public Affairs) joined us to discuss a path to reform. Watch video/read summary>

What can you do?

1) Contact Your Legislators

Call and email the message to your legislators that you support reform of NJ’s antiquated liquor license laws. Let them know early and often to keep this critical initiative top of mind. Be sure to check out the resources above to help you craft your message. Find your legislator>

2) Pass a Resolution

Show your support for reform by passing a resolution and sending it to your legislators, the Governor, and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Don’t forget to let the press know what you’ve done too!

The sample template document includes three different resolutions to choose from:

  1. A general resolution in support of reform, but not backing any particular piece of legislation.
  2. A resolution supporting Bill S2964/A4925, which establishes a restricted alcoholic beverage license that allows the sale of beer, wine, & cider by the glass on the premise of a restaurant with a full kitchen.
  3. A resolution supporting Bill A1700, which creates a special restricted permit to allow certain restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages.

Sample Resolutions

3) Join the Alliance

The Liquor License Reform Alliance was formed to show broad and diverse support for changing New Jersey’s archaic liquor license laws that are an impediment to many restaurant’s ability to survive and thrive. The alliance is calling for reform in order to help our small businesses, promote equity, and enable New Jersey to better compete in the regional market. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated how important a liquor license can be for a restaurant’s survival.

Currently, the alliance is not supporting a specific piece of legislation, as the pending liquor license reform bills are still in their early stages and will doubtless change over time. The Alliance supports general reform of New Jersey’s outdated liquor laws, and will work with the NJ Legislature to create reasonable and equitable legislation that recognizes the needs of NJ’s small business owners, as well as existing license holders. 

We welcome you to join the Liquor License Reform Alliance to be listed on this webpage, receive call to action emails, and generally provide moral support to this reform initiative.

Join Alliance 

Alliance Members

Organizations
  • American Planning Association – NJ Chapter
  • Bernards Township Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Downtown New Jersey
  • Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce
  • Jersey City Economic Development Corporation
  • Mayors for Main Street
  • NJ Builders Association
  • NJ League of Municipalities
  • North New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
  • Spring Lake Business Development Corporation
  • Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • Trenton Makes Inc
  • More to come…
Municipalities
  • Borough of Pompton Lakes
  • City of Hackensack
  • More to come…
Public Officials
  • Mayor Marcia Asdal, Township of Chester 
  • Mayor James Baldassare, Township of Bernards 
  • Mayor Zachery Bray, Borough of Raritan
  • Councilman Brandon Brenier, Borough of Roselle
  • Mayor Shelley Brindle, Township of Westfield
  • Borough Administrator David G. Brown II, Borough of Bradley Beach 
  • Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese, 36th Legislative District
  • Mayor Mary Jane Canose, Borough of Bernardsville
  • Mayor Jason Cilento, Borough of Dunellen
  • Mayor Sheena Collum, Village of South Orange Township
  • Mayor Bob Conley, Borough of Madison
  • Councilman Erik DeLine, Borough of Pompton Lakes 
  • Committeewoman Amalia Duarte, Township of Mendham 
  • Mayor Larry Fox, Borough of Bradley Beach
  • Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, Borough of Mendham 
  • Mayor Jeff Herb, White Township 
  • Mayor Janet Hoven, Borough of Chester 
  • Mayor Larry Jacobs, Township of Bedminster
  • Mayor Collette Kennedy, Borough of Keyport
  • Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros, Municipality of Princeton 
  • Mayor Michele Lee, Borough of High Bridge
  • Mayor Michael Marion, Township of Warren 
  • Council President Caitlin Giles-McCormick, Borough of Flemington
  • Councilwoman Christine McGrath, Township of Verona 
  • Mayor Jim Mengucci, Township of Lopatcong 
  • Mayor Matthew Moench, Township of Bridgewater 
  • Mayor Al Morgan, Township of  New Providence
  • Mayor Matthew Murello, Washington Township, Morris County
  • Mayor Sarah Neibart, Township of Mendham 
  • Mayor Richard Onderko, Borough of Manville 
  • Mayor Greg Skinner, Borough of Peapack and Gladstone
  • Mayor Todd Tersigni, Town of Phillipsburg
  • Mayor Brian Tipton, Township of Harmony 
  • Mayor Doug Tomson, Township of Hillsborough
  • Mayor Paul Vallone, Borough of Far Hills
  • Councilwoman Syd Whalley, Borough of Spring Lake
  • More to come…
Businesses
  • Abdou Law Offices, LLC (Clark Township)
  • Bistro d’Azur (Township of South Orange)
  • Common Lot Restaurant (Township of Millburn)
  • Gaia and Loki Vegan Restaurant (City of Jersey City)
  • Heirloom Kitchen (Township of Old Bridge)
  • High End Cigars (Township of Scotch Plains)
  • Hoboken Tax, LLC (City of Hoboken)
  • Jack’s Lobster Shack (Borough of Edgewater)
  • Madhuram, LLC (City of Englewood)
  • River Cafe and Grill (City of Garfield) 
  • Snapdragon Coffee & Social (City of Jersey City) 
  • Tom Bailey’s Market (Spring Lake Borough)
  • Trattoria Carpaccio (City of Englewood)
  • Whole Hog Cafe (Township of Cherry Hill and Township of  Medford) 
  • More to come…