Generation of epithelial cell polarity requires mechanisms to sort plasma membrane proteins to the apical and basolateral domains. Sorting involves incorporation into specific vesicular carriers and subsequent fusion to the correct target membranes mediated by specific SNARE proteins. In polarized epithelial cells, the SNARE protein syntaxin 4 localizes exclusively to the basolateral plasma membrane and plays an important role in basolateral trafficking pathways. However, the mechanism of basolateral targeting of syntaxin 4 itself has remained poorly understood. Here we show that newly synthesized syntaxin 4 is directly targeted to the basolateral plasma membrane in polarized Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Basolateral targeting depends on a signal that is centered around residues 24–29 in the N-terminal domain of syntaxin 4. Furthermore, basolateral targeting of syntaxin 4 is dependent on the epithelial cell-specific clathrin adaptor AP1B. Disruption of the basolateral targeting signal of syntaxin 4 leads to non-polarized delivery to both the apical and basolateral surface, as well as partial intercellular retention in the trans-Golgi network. Importantly, disruption of the basolateral targeting signal of syntaxin 4 leads to the inability of MDCK cells to establish a polarized morphology which suggests that restriction of syntaxin 4 to the basolateral domain is required for epithelial cell polarity.