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Walter | Haverfield has maintained one of Ohio’s leading hospitality and liquor control practices for more than a decade. Our group routinely navigates Ohio’s complex alcohol regulations, including new and transferred permits through the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. We have extensive experience with the Ohio Liquor Commission, the contractual protections of liquor permit rights, and associated federal licensing through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Walter | Haverfield further provides a wide range of services to alcoholic beverage businesses that require comprehensive legal counsel in areas beyond liquor licenses, such as:

  • Formation and funding of start-ups
  • Negotiating leases
  • Restructuring businesses
  • Tax planning

We assist clients in engaging new investors, negotiating leases and formulating tax strategies. Day-to-day employment law issues often emerge as well, leaving clients threatened by litigation. Walter | Haverfield has extensive experience in these areas, making the firm uniquely equipped to help clients that range from single location shops to national chains.



Our team's experience includes:

  • Processes thousands of liquor permit transactions with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
  • Negotiates hundreds of restaurant and retail leases, on behalf of both landlords and tenants.
  • Works with property developers to form comprehensive plans for alcohol beverage permitting within projects.
  • Representation of national concessionaires and Ohio professional sports teams from Cleveland to Cincinnati on stadium licensing and management changes.
  • Licensed numerous breweries with the TTB and the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, after resolving tied house restrictions from investors’ ownership of retail permits.
  • Drafts critical liquor permit “re-transfer” clauses in leases so that landlords can control liquor permit transfer rights.
  • Effectuates global restructuring transactions for restaurant and convenience store chains.
  • Advanced and prevailed a novel argument before the Ohio Division of Liquor Control to license an arts museum under a quota exempt liquor permit.
  • Formed the Cleveland Uptown, Cleveland Flats East Bank, and Downtown Kent Community Entertainment Districts on behalf of local developers, authorizing non-quota liquor permits.
  • Negotiated and secured complex licensing agreement for historical hotel complex that could not rebuild to comply with newer control regulations.
  • Consulted with national counsel on industry-wide tied house matters involving manufacturer and retailer projects.
  • Negotiates the purchase and processes the transfer of dozens of state liquor permit agency stores for both individuals and grocery store chains.
  • Consults with municipality on voting a precinct “dry” to solve community nuisance claims.
  • Consults with litigation counsel and defends dram shop liability claims.
  • Settles objections from a municipality that allow a permit holder to sell its permit, as opposed to having the permit rejected and investment completely lost.
  • Litigates claims where tenants were obligated to transfer a liquor permit to a new tenant, but refused to comply with those obligations.
  • Defends wage and hour investigations instituted by the United States Department of Labor.
  • Effectuated the buy-out of a member of a restaurant group while defending litigation brought against restaurant and its owners.
  • Representation of property owners and business operators in the purchase, transfer and sale of Ohio liquor permits and related matters.



  • Lead hospitality and liquor control attorney recognized as AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell