Operator (Bartender) License
An Operator License (commonly referred to as a Bartender license) is required for any person who shall be selling or serving fermented malt beverage, wine, or liquor in the City of Waukesha. This license is a two year license expiring June 30th.
You do not need a license if you are under the immediate supervision of someone that has an operator's license or is the approved agent of an establishment. However, please know the City of Waukesha strongly recommends that each seller and server apply for an Operator license as it is highly unlikely that each unlicensed employee will be under the immediate supervision at all times. The Waukesha Police Department regularly conducts compliance checks.
The Operator License allows you to work at any licensed establishment including festivals or fairs within the City of Waukesha. If you will be employed at an establishment outside of the City of Waukesha limits, you will need to contact the Clerk's office for at that municipality for instructions on how to obtain a license. Each municipality has their own application forms, fees and requirements.
Download the fillable Operator/Bartender License application (PDF)
The license fee is $82 and includes the record check fee. You may pay by cash, check, debit or credit card. Please make all checks payable to the City of Waukesha. Payment is due at the time the application is submitted. Some establishments may reimburse the operator/bartender for the license fee.
A record check will be completed by the Police Department. The record check can take up to 10-14 days to process. If the record check reveals tickets or charges which were not reported on your application, your application may be rejected and you will have to reapply. If you have drug, liquor/tobacco violations, or domestic battery charges that occurred 2 years or less than the date of your application, you will be invited to speak to the Ordinance & License Committee. The Ordinance & License Committee meets two times per month, and they make recommendations to Council to approve or deny your license application.
If you failed to list all violations on your application, you will have to reapply to have your application considered and pay a reapplication fee of $20. You will be able to view your record check at the time of reapplying for your license. If there are no drug, liquor/tobacco violations or domestic battery charges; a provisional license may be issued at the time of reapplication.
If there are no drug, liquor/tobacco or domestic battery charges on your record within the last two years, a provisional license can be issued. This is valid for up to 60 days, and cannot be renewed or extended. Please note that a provisional license can only be issued once the record check is completed unless you held an Operator's license in another municipality and present a certified copy of your license signed by the clerk or deputy clerk of that municipality. You must also show proof that you passed the Responsible Beverage Server's course in order to obtain your regular license.
The license fee is $22 and includes the record check fee. A temporary license is valid for any period from 1-14 days and may be issued to operators employed by or donating their services to a nonprofit corporation. Only 2 licenses of this type may be issued per year.
Applicants who apply for a temporary operator's license are not required to complete a Wisconsin Department of Revenue approved course. Applications for this type of license must be approved by the Ordinance & License Committee as well as Common Council before it can be issued. This process could take up to 30 days, because a record check needs to be performed and each of these meetings take place 2 times per month.
Responsible Beverage Server's Course
State law requires that applicants complete a Wisconsin Department of Revenue approved course if they have neither held a license, acted as an agent of an establishment, nor completed the course within the last two years. Proof must be supplied before a license will be issued. The City of Waukesha does not endorse nor administer any of these programs. Any issues you have concerning registration, student certification, fees, certificates, etc. must be directed to the individual vendor for resolution. Click here for a link to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's list of Responsible Beverage Server training courses approved for certification in the State of Wisconsin. Waukesha County Technical College has also offered this course in the past. Please contact WCTC at (262) 691-5566 for more information.
The Ordinance & License (O&L) Committee reviews the applications and recommends approval or denial to the Common Council. You do not need to appear to the O&L meeting unless you receive communication from our department that you have been invited to speak to the Committee. If you have drug, liquor/tobacco violations, or domestic battery charges that occurred 2 years or less than the date of your application, you will be invited to speak to the Ordinance & License Committee. The agent of the establishment that you are working for would also need to appear at the meeting. The Ordinance & License Committee meets two times per month, and they make recommendations to Council to approve or deny your license application. Click here to be taken to past O&L meetings.
Related Municipal Ordinance
For additional questions, contact the Clerk Treasurer's Office at (262) 524-3550. Regular business hours are Monday - Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.