There are 7 liquor licence categories in NSW.
Liquor licence freeze for parts of city of Sydney
A liquor licence freeze is active in the Kings Cross precinct and the Oxford St/Darlinghurst precinct. Click here for more information before applying for a new licence or a licence amendment in these areas.
Bars that do not propose to provide gaming or sell takeaway liquor can apply for either a general bar licence or a small bar licence. Where the primary product or service is the provision of entertainment to patrons, venues can apply for an on-premises licence.
Licensed restaurants can seek approval to serve alcohol without a meal, by applying for a Primary Service Authorisation. However the primary purpose of a restaurant cannot be the sale of alcohol. The law does not allow restaurants to trade as bars.
When opening a small bar you must first determine whether development consent is required for the proposed premises. It is recommended that you check with your local council.
Hotel licences apply to premises where the primary purpose is the sale and supply of alcohol. This includes a variety of hotel venues (including accommodation hotels), as well as small and large bars.
- Hotel licensees can have takeaway alcohol sales if their licence conditions allow.
- Bars that do not provide gaming or sell takeaway alcohol can apply for a special type of hotel licence known as a general bar hotel licence.
- New hotels are subject to a community impact statement to ensure local stakeholders can have their say in the liquor licensing process.
- Standard hotel trading hours are 5am to midnight Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 10pm on Sunday.
- Trading restrictions apply between midnight Sunday and 5am Monday, and on Good Friday and Christmas Day.
- Applications for extended trading hours are subject to a Community Impact Statement.
- Hotel Licence Fact Sheet(PDF 550 KB)
Club licences apply to registered clubs.
- Clubs liquor licensing provisions are contained in the Liquor Act 2007. A club with a club liquor licence is referred to as a 'registered club' in the law. The Registered Clubs Act 1976 focuses on club management and governance issues.
- Most clubs that existed as at 30 June 2008 have unrestricted trading hours.
- Newly licensed registered clubs are subject to a community impact statement to ensure local stakeholders can have their say in the liquor licensing process.
- Newly licensed registered clubs are subject to the standard trading period ?i.e. 5am to midnight Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 10pm on Sunday. Applications for extended trading hours are subject to a community impact statement.
A small bar licence allows liquor to be sold in a bar that is restricted to a maximum of 60 patrons.
- A small bar licence allows liquor to be sold for consumption on the licensed premises.
- A community impact statement is not required where development consent from the local council is required and notice of a development application is provided to local police and the Director General, NSW trade & Investment within two working days.
- Standard trading hours in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD Entertainment precincts and the Oxford Street, Darlinghurst freeze precinct are 12 midday to 12 midnight, while standard trading until 2am applies elsewhere.
- Application can be made to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority to extend small bar liquor trading from 10am up until 5am.
- Minors are not permitted in a small bar during authorised liquor trading hours.
Note for local consent authorities:
The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has issued an advisory note, 'Planning for small bars' to guide councils on the new process for small bar applications.
The advisory note is available on the department's website at www.planning.nsw.gov.au under Local Planning / Other guidance on LEPS.
Packaged liquor licences will apply to liquor stores selling takeaway alcohol only.
- New packaged liquor licences are subject to a community impact statement to ensure local stakeholders can have their say in the liquor licensing process.
- Standard liquor store trading hours are 5am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 10pm on Sunday. Applications for extended trading hours on a Sunday morning are subject to a Community Impact Statement.
- Takeaway sales are not permitted on Good Friday and Christmas Day. Packaged liquor licences cannot trade between 10pm and 5am on any day.
- Packaged Licence Fact Sheet(PDF 346 KB)
On-premises licences apply to a variety of purposes including accommodation venues, restaurants, catering services, vessels, tourism businesses, tertiary institutions, and public entertainment venues.
On-premises licences are very flexible.
- Sale of alcohol is permitted for consumption primarily on the premises, and for consumption off the premises if specifically allowed. Individual licence conditions imposed by the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority will determine the type of business and alcohol sale, supply and consumption arrangements.
- The type of business for an on-premises licence is specified when the licence is granted.
- An on-premises licence will not be issued where the sale, supply or consumption of alcohol is the primary business or activity carried out on the premises. Exceptions apply for tertiary institutions and airports.
- A community impact statement applies to on-premises licences that relate to a public entertainment venue (not a cinema or theatre). See the community impact statement process for more details
- Most on-premises licences are subject to the standard trading period ?ie 5am to midnight Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 10pm on Sunday. Applications for extended trading hours are permitted.
- The sale of alcohol under an on-premises licence must be with or ancillary to another product or service. Exceptions can be approved by the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Authority ?such as to allow alcohol sales without meals in restaurants. This exception is known as a primary service authorisation.
- An on-premises licence can be used to operate a live music and public entertainment venue ?where alcohol is provided to patrons with entertainment.
- On-premises licence fact sheet(PDF 442 KB)
- On-premises licence fact sheet-accomodation(PDF 332 KB)
- On-premises licence fact sheet-restaurant (PDF 162 KB)
Producer/wholesaler licences apply to wine producers, brewers, distillers, and wholesalers. The licence allows wholesalers to sell to other liquor licensees.
- For wine producers, the licence also allows tastings (with a charge if desired), cellar door sales, direct sales to the public at wine shows and farmers' (producer) markets, and the operation of multiple premises in an area. Consumption on the premises as part of a restaurant/motel/vineyard event/ and so on is permitted where a drink on-premises authorisation has been approved.
- For small-scale regional brewers and distillers, the licence also allows tastings and retail sales in bottles at the licensed premises.
Read more about wine sales at trade fairs, wine shows and producers' markets.
Limited licences will allow alcohol sales for consumption on the licensed premises at a function or multiple functions a special event and a trade fair.
- Limited licences apply to sporting club and community functions. In these cases, they are limited to non-profit organisations.
- Limited licences also apply to significant regional and State events held by non-profit and for-profit organisations.
- In the case of trade fairs (such as wine or food shows), a limited licence can also allow takeaway sales.
- Limited licence - multi-functions fact sheet (495kb)
- Limited licence - single function fact sheet (404kb)