New city program could make it easier and cheaper for restaurants to sell alcohol

A proposed city program could streamline the permit process for Los Angeles restaurants looking to sell alcohol.
(Isaac Hale / For The Times)

Restaurants could soon get approval to serve alcohol within weeks instead of months — and pay significantly less for the coveted permits — if a new city proposal is approved.

In Los Angeles, restaurants are required to have a city-issued Conditional Use Permit to sell alcohol in addition to a state-issued ABC license.

Under the proposed Restaurant Beverage Program, announced Wednesday by City Planning, eligible restaurants (those that have an operational kitchen and full menu) would receive an expedited permit that would cost around $4,000 instead of the usual $13,000.

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“Our hope is that this will help restaurants recover from the COVID-19 closures as quickly as possible and help new restaurant startups as well,” said Nora Frost, a City Planning spokesperson.

Nightclubs, bars and liquor stores would not be eligible for the program.

The plan is part of a larger effort to relax regulations for small businesses after the coronavirus shutdown is lifted. The city recently approved restaurant sales of alcoholic beverages for delivery and takeout.

Frost said the Restaurant Beverage Program could be considered for City Council approval in the summer.

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