Beer / Liquor Licenses


The sale and serving of alcoholic beverages requires that a Liquor License is obtained. Licensing businesses that are involved in the sale and/or serving of alcoholic beverages is a cooperative effort between the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, the applicant and the City of Dubuque, known as the local authority. 
Please also visit the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

In addition to the electronic filing of the application, the city has additional requirements which must be met before new or renewal licenses are issued. A checklist of city requirements specific to liquor licenses can be obtained at the City Clerk's office or downloaded here.
      Checklist for NEW licenses
      Checklist for RENEWAL licenses

If you have any questions please feel free to call Trish Gleason, Assistant City Clerk at 563.589.4120.

Applicant Requirements

In order to be eligible to hold a liquor, wine or beer license, the law requires the applicant to meet the standards of good moral character. Under Iowa law, applicants are considered to be of good moral character if they:
  • Are a U.S. citizen and an Iowa resident, or incorporated to do business in the state. The corporation must be registered and in good standing with the Iowa Secretary of State's office.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony during the past five years.
  •  Have not had any financial interest in an Iowa liquor, wine or beer license which was revoked during the past two years.
  •  Have “good financial standing” and a “good reputation” to indicate that the applicant will comply with all laws and rules governing the license.

Requirements apply to all officers, directors and shareholders of a corporation and general partners in a partnership.
A number of City inspections will be required to determine your eligibility to hold or to renew a liquor license. These inspections will take at least 30 days to complete. Please assist us by forwarding all applicable forms and paperwork in a timely manner.

Once you have submitted an online application and all other applicable paperwork to the City Clerk’s Office, a criminal and possibly financial background investigation will take place. When this has been completed, and the premise has been inspected and approved, the application will be presented to the Dubuque City Council. The City Council will then determine whether the applicant is eligible to hold a liquor license in the City of Dubuque.

City Council meetings are on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. Please keep this schedule in mind as it relates to when you would like your license to go into effect.

If access to a computer is problematic, you may utilize a public computer at the Carnegie–Stout Public Library located at 360 West 11th St. or you may call the Iowa Alcohol Beverage Division at 1-866-469-2223 (option 1) for help to renew your license. You will also need to be able to access your bank accounts online in order to allow for the electronic transfer of funds for new and renewal applications.

By obtaining a license, alcoholic beverages licensees assume the responsibility of complying with all local, state and federal laws and regulations. Today, all businesses involved in the state's alcoholic beverages industry are separately licensed by the Division under the three-tier system to provide for the lawful trafficking of alcohol. Licensees' understanding of the three-tier system, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and other important laws pertaining to the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages, is a critical element of operating a successful alcoholic beverages related business in Iowa.