The neighborhood bar may be a fun place for patrons to kick back and forget their cares for a while. But for the owner — even with a pint in hand — it can be a source of stress and numerous expenses. Myriad legal hurdles must be cleared to open and operate a bar, and failure to comply with laws and regulations can result in fines or even closure.
Every bar in the U.S. must apply to sell alcohol through the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, but each state has its own permits and requirements. Some dictate when you can be open and sell alcohol.
In Tennessee, on the other hand, any business that meets the right criteria can have a liquor license, says Tucker Herndon, an attorney specializing in alcoholic beverage law at Bone McAllester Norton in Nashville. However, the state doesn’t allow “bars” that sell alcohol only. To get a license, an establishment must be a “restaurant” with a menu that includes at least a few hot items, Herndon says.
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