The White Horse Tavern
John Begin bartends at The White Horse Tavern

It’s time for our annual look at what liquor licenses are out there and who is using them – it’s also a time to remind those who are interested how the liquor license “process” works.

We hear these questions all the time  – “how can I get a liquor license?”, “why aren’t there more liquor licenses?” or “who currently has a liquor license (and is for sale)?” So, here’s our attempt at making sense of the liquor license scene here in Newport, RI.

In Rhode Island, the quantity of liquor licenses in cities and towns are based on per capita. Therefore, there are only a limited number of liquor licenses made available in Newport – meaning no one can just go in front of Newport City Council and ask for one unless one is available (it pretty much doesn’t happen). Those looking for a liquor license must buy a business or buy a license that’s already out there.

There are also several other types of liquor licenses available in Newport. For example, caterers who serve alcohol will be required to procure a liquor license. There are also a few very specialized licenses for Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center, Newport Yachting Center, Salvation Cafe and the private clubs. Not-for-Profit Clubs may apply for a different liquor license, too.

2017/2018 Liquor License Renewal:

As of November 1, 2017 (this story will be updated as more renewal notices are made public, things change)

The following application for renewal has been received by the Board of License Commissioners of the City Of Newport, according to published legal notices.

Class A – (Package Store)

A wholesaler’s license, Class A, authorizes the holder to keep for sale and to sell malt beverages and wines at wholesale at the place described to holders of licenses under this title within this state and to holders of wholesale licenses in other states and the transportation and delivery from the place of sale to those license holders or to a common carrier for that delivery.The license shall not authorize the sale of malt beverages or wines for consumption on the premises where sold nor their sale for their delivery outside this state in violation of the law of the place of delivery.

  1. Point Wine & Spirits
  2. Fifth Ward Liquor
  3. Harry’s Liquor Store
  4. Rex Liquors
  5. Andrew’s Liquors
  6. Bridge Liquors
  7. Island Wine & Spirits
  8. Newport Wine Cellar
  9. Downtown Liquors
  10. Vicker’s Liquors
  11. Rum Runner
  12. Stoneacre Wine & Spirits
  13. Sully’s Beer Wine & Liquor*
  14. Bellevue Wine & Spirits
  15. Spring Street Spirits
  16. Bliss Road Beer Wine & Spirits

(*Has not yet been listed for renewal)

Class BH

Except for Class B-H alcoholic beverage licensees, all alcoholic beverages must be served, dispensed or sold by an employee or owner of a licensed retail liquor establishment.Alcoholic beverages may not be served or dispensed by a patron, provided however, hotel service “mini bars” shall be permitted if said hotel holds a valid B-H alcoholic beverage license, but said “mini bars” shall only be allowed in the room of a registered hotel guest who is at least twenty-one (21) years of age

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class BH licenses allowed in Newport is 3.

  1. Forty 1 North
  2. Hotel Viking
  3. Cliffside Inn

Class BL – Class B Limited (Beer and Wine)

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class BL licenses allowed in Newport is 11. 

  1. Mission
  2. Newport Tokyo House
  3. Mudville Cafe
  4. Mamma Luisa
  5. Norey’s Star Restaurant
  6. Nikolas Pizza
  7. Lucia Italian Restaurant
  8. Harry’s Bar & Burger
  9. Thai Cuisine
  10. Perro Salado
  11. Stoneacre Tapas

Class BT – Class B Tavern (Hotel)

In the granting of alcoholic beverage tavern licenses (also referred to as a Class B-T), the licensing authority must ascertain that the taverns are, in fact, operating or about to be operated with reasonable sleeping accommodations as well as kitchens properly equipped and in use, or ready to be put in use.

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class BT licenses allowed in Newport is 11. 

  1. Castle Hill Inn
  2. Chanler At Cliff Walk
  3. Forty 1 North
  4. Vanderbilt Grace
  5. Hotel Viking
  6. Mainstay Inn
  7. Newport Marriott Hotel
  8. Ocean Cliff
  9. The Port
  10. Saltwater
  11. Surf Club*
  12. Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina

(*Has not yet been listed for renewal)

Class BV – Class B Victualer (Restaurant)

An applicant for a Class B alcoholic beverage license (also referred to as a Class B-V) may be granted a license subject to, but not limited to, the following terms and conditions: (1) Demonstration to the satisfaction of the licensing board that a kitchen is established on the proposed premises as evidenced by a certificate of occupancy from the local building official and inspection and approval by the Department of Health. (2) Furnishing to the licensing authority a copy of the proposed menu
and food services to be provided.

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class BV licenses allowed in Newport is 56. 

  1. @ The Deck
  2. Antonio’s Pizza
  3. 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille
  4. Fifth Element
  5. 99 Restaurant
  6. Jo’s American Bistro
  7. Belle Mer
  8. Scales & Shells
  9. Gas Lamp Grille
  10. Tavern on Broadway
  11. One Pelham East
  12. Speakeasy Bar & Grill
  13. Celtica
  14. Clarke Cooke House
  15. Riptides
  16. Dockside
  17. Star Bar (d/b/a Queen Anne’s Loft)
  18. The Fastnet
  19. O’brien’s Pub
  20. Regatta Place
  21. Canfield House & Racquets Pub
  22. Griswold’s Tavern
  23. Hillside Cafe (aka Cappy’s)*
  24. Jimmy’s Saloon
  25. Perro Salado
  26. La Forge Casino
  27. Malt
  28. Marina Cafe
  29. Pour Judgement
  30. Benjamins
  31. Midtown Oyster Bar
  32. Mooring Restaurant
  33. Smokehouse
  34. The Black Pearl
  35. The Pier
  36. Newport Playhouse & Cabaret
  37. The Landing
  38. Hope 
  39. Buskers
  40. Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen
  41. Pasta Beach
  42. Brick Alley Pub
  43. Newport Grand
  44. Stoneacre Brasserie
  45. Red Parrot
  46. Bouchard & Revolving Door
  47. Rhumbline
  48. Cafe Zelda
  49. Sardella’s Restaurant
  50. Caleb & Broad
  51. Newport Blues Cafe
  52. Diego’s 
  53. Backyard Patio
  54. Daily 401 Bar & Bistro (Formerly People’s Cafe)
  55. Parlor
  56. The Wharf Pub

(*Has not yet been listed for renewal)

Class C – Saloon

Holders of retailers’ Class C alcoholic beverage licenses shall not sell or serve any beverages nor be open for business prior to 12:00 o’clock noon on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, provided, however, that local boards may authorize places operating under a Class C license to be open on New Year’s Day.

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class C licenses allowed in Newport is 1. 

  1. Salvation Cafe

Class D – Full Privilege or Beer and Wine

A Class D license authorized the sale of beverages to members of the licensed club or their guests, which beverages are to be consumed on the premises where sold and nowhere else.

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class D licenses allowed in Newport is 16. 

  1. Ancient Order of Hibernians
  2. Ida Lewis Yacht Club
  3. Irish American Athletic Club
  4. New York Yacht Club Harbour Court
  5. Newport Country Club
  6. Elk’s Club
  7. Newport Reading Room
  8. Newport Yacht Club
  9. Newport Sportsmans Club
  10. Kerry Hill Club
  11. Protective Club
  12. Pyramid Club*
  13. Bailey’s Beach
  14. IYAC Club
  15. Vasco Da Gama Portuguese American
  16. Friendly Sons of Newport Social Club

(*Has not yet been listed for renewal)

Class J

  1. The Bohlin

Class K

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class K licenses allowed in Newport is 1. 

  1. White Horse Tavern

Liquor (Class T)

Pursuant to the authority of the General Laws of the state, the maximum number of Class T licenses allowed in Newport is 1. 

  1. Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center

What Does A Liquor License Cost? 

Some liquor license have rumored to have been sold in Newport, RI recently for $100 – $300k. Here’s a look at what the liquor licenses actually cost, according to 2015/2016 reports.

Here’s the current State Of Rhode Island liquor license fee.

  • Wholesale Class A: $2,000
  • Wholesale Class B:  $4,000
  • Distillery: $3,000
  • Brewery: $500
  • Winery: $1,500 (producing more than 50k gallons)
  • Winery: $500 (producing less than 50k gallons)
  • Farmer Winter: $1,500 (producing more than 50k gallons)
  • Farmer Winery: $500 (producing more than 50k gallons)
  • Brewpub Manufacturer: $1,000 (producing more than 50k gallons)
  • Brewpub Manufacturer: $500 (producing less than 50k gallons)
  • Rectifier: $3,000

The following fees for permits and licenses issued by the City Of Newport:

1. Alcoholic Beverage Licenses.
Class A (Package Store) $ 1,000.00 per year
Class B Tavern (Hotel) 2,000.00 7per year
Class B Limited (Beer and Wine) 1,500.00 per year
Class B Victualer (Restaurant) 2,000.00 per year
Class C (Saloon) 800.00 per year
Class D (Full Privilege) 800.00 per year
Class D (Beer and Wine) 400.00 per year
Class E (Druggist) 200.00 per year
Class F (Beer and Wine) 15.00 per day
Class F-1 (Full Privilege) 35.00 per day
Class J 2,000.00 per year
Class B-H 500.00 per year
Class T 800.00 per year
Renewal — All Classes 25.00 per year