Common Victualler License

Every food service establishment in the City of Boston with capabilities for cooking, preparing and serving food is required to have a Common Victualler License.

Law

A Common Victualler License is issued under Mass General Laws Chapter 140 Section 2
Read the Law »

  • Common Victualler Licenses must be renewed by the end of October. 
  • Failure to renew may result in sanctions and/or revocation of the License.
  • Annual Fee: $100.00 base fee plus $1.00 per seat; if take-out only, $210.00.  
  • Inspection Certificates and Fire Assembly Permits are obtained at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue.

To Apply for a New Common Victualler License

(at address that does not have a restaurant currently approved by the Board):

  1. Speak with the local Neighborhood Association and the City Councillor for the district prior to the hearing before the Licensing Board.

  2. File the completed application with a copy of the lease agreement (in the applicant’s name), and an 8½ x 11 floor plan and completed Personal Information Form(s) and Criminal Record Information Form(s) for all owner(s), shareholder(s), officer(s), manager(s), and person(s) with a financial interest in the business. Corporations should also submit a printout of the summary screen generated by the state’s corporation database containing the corporation’s general information here.

  3. If you are applying for outdoor seating, include with your application a check for $170.00, made payable to Boston Herald, for the advertising fee.  You must also notify your abutters. If the outdoor seating is on a public way you need to obtain a permit from the Department of Public Works in City Hall, Room 714.

  4. Appear at the Licensing Board hearing on the scheduled date and time.

  5. Prior to being able to pick up the license, you must go to Inspectional Services Department and obtain a current Inspection Certificate (white paper with gold seal).  This can be obtained at Inspectional Services Department 1010 Massachusetts Avenue. If the capacity is 50 or more, you must also obtain a Fire Assembly Permit. Licenses will not issue or be released without these documents first being provided to the Board.

  6. The annual fees are $100.00 base fee plus $1.00 per seat; and for take-out only, it is 210.00.

To Apply for a New Common Victualler License

(at address that has a restaurant currently approved by the Board):

  1. File the completed application with: a copy of the lease agreement (in the applicant’s name); an 8 ½ x 11 floor plan; a current Inspection Certificate issued in the applicant’s name; if capacity is 50 or more, a current Fire Assembly Permit in the applicant’s name; and completed Personal Information Form(s) and Criminal Record Information Form(s) for all owner(s), shareholder(s), officer(s), manager(s), and person(s) with a financial interest in the business.  Corporations should also submit a printout of the summary screen generated by the state’s corporation database containing the corporation’s general information here.
  2. If you are not making any substantive changes to the hours or capacity, a hearing will not be scheduled and the Board will vote on the application within 1-2 weeks of it being submitted.   
  3. If you are making substantive changes or adding outdoor seating, a hearing will be required.  Meet with the local Neighborhood Association (ONS), and speak with the City Councilor for the District prior to the hearing before the Licensing Board.
  4. If you are adding outdoor seating, include with your application a check for $170.00, made payable to Boston Herald, for the advertising fee. You must also notify your abutters. If the outdoor seating is on a public way you need to obtain a permit from the Department of Public Works in City Hall, Room 714.
  5. If a hearing is required, you must show up to the scheduled hearing. 

Application