Liquor and Gaming NSW > Liquor > Liquor licences > Which licence do I need?

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On-premises licence

An on-premises licence allows the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises when another product or service - including food, entertainment and accommodation - is sold, supplied, or provided to customers.

If the primary purpose of the business or activity is the sale or supply of alcohol, you are not eligible for an on-premises licence.

Types of businesses that are eligible for this licence include:

​Restaurants and cafes 
Live music, arts and cultural event venues ​​Cinemas, theatres, art galleries
​Accommodation venues, including motels or B&Bs with more than eight guests
Sporting facilities​​Catering services
​Function centres
​Hairdressers and beauticians
Karaoke venues​​Airports and sea vessels
​Tourist facilities
​Nightclubs

Liquor Licence Freeze

liquor licence freeze applies in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD Entertainment precincts until 1 June 2019. While this freeze is in place, most on-premises licences are exempt, except for nightclubs. 

On-premises licenses which are public entertainment venues are allowed in the freeze precincts if they regularly provide a mix of live entertainment including theatre, musicals, dance; or live or pre-recorded music, comedy, and variety performances. 

Precinct maps: 

Under 18s are allowed in premises with an on-premises licence. 

 On-premises restaurant licence

​This on-premises licence allows you to sell alcohol with meals. It can also be tailored to suit a multi-purpose business - for example, if your restaurant is part of a motel complex, it can allow you to sell alcohol to guests in accommodation and conference facilities.

Requirements under the liquor laws

An on-premises licence for a restaurant is subject to a number of requirements under the liquor laws, including:

  • it must operate as a restaurant preparing and serving meals to the public at all times
  • it must be open to the public (and not run as a private club)
  • free drinking water must be available to patrons whenever alcohol is served
  • a sign must be displayed at the front of the premises that shows
    • the name of the premises
    • the type of liquor licence held
    • either the business or activity carried out on the premises or the kind of premises
    • the name of the licensee
  • an incident register must be maintained if the premises regularly trades past midnight
  • conditions can be imposed on the licence.

The main activity of every licensed restaurant must be preparation and service of meals to the public. An on-premises liquor licence will no longer have effect:

  • if the business or activity carried out on the premises changes or the kind of licensed premises changes without regulatory approval
  • if the primary purpose becomes the sale or supply of alcohol (in other words, it operates primarily as a bar).

Primary Service Authorisation

  • You may be able to obtain a Primary Service Authorisation (PSA), which will allow you to sell alcohol without meals in your restaurant. It can be part of your licence application for a new restaurant, or as an additional trading authorisation for an existing restaurant.

  • An application fee applies to the PSA, and a community impact statement (CIS) is also required.

  • All CIS submissions received in relation to a licence application from stakeholders are considered, including from Police, the local council and local residents.

Interim restaurant authorisations

An interim restaurant authorisation allows you to begin serving liquor as soon as you have lodged a liquor licence application.

To be eligible, you must: 

  • apply online for an on-premises liquor licence for a restaurant 
  • seek standard trading hours - 5am to midnight Monday to Saturday and 10am - 10pm on Sunday
  • have planning approval from the local council to use the premises as a restaurant or café, and have informed the community of the intention to serve alcohol as part of the public exhibition process
  • not apply for authorisations including extended trading hours or primary service authorisation (PSA).

Interim restaurant authorisations are exempt from the CIS requirements under the liquor laws, as public consultation occurs as part of the development approval process with council.

If you are ineligible for an interim restaurant authorisation because you did not consult on your intention to serve alcohol as part of the public exhibition process to obtain your development approval, the public submission period for your on-premises licence application can be reduced from 30 to 14 days if you make your application online. 

This shortened submission period is not available for any restaurants or cafes seeking extended trading hours or a PSA. 

 On-premises accommodation licence

​This on-premises licence allows the sale of alcohol, with the primary service being accommodation to residents and their guests.  The 6-hour closure period does not apply to accommodation areas allowing alcohol to be supplied to guests in their room at any time. 

This type of licence can be approved where temporary accommodation is provided to travellers – including a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or farm stay establishment. It cannot be approved for a boarding house, lodging house, nursing home, or caravan park.

It can be tailored to suit a multi-purpose business - for example, where a motel complex includes a public restaurant and/or function centre, the licence can also allow alcohol to be sold in the restaurant and conference facilities.

Requirements under the liquor laws

Requirements applying to an on-premises licence for accommodation-premises include:

  • it must operate as an accommodation business providing accommodation 
  • where the licence also applies to a public restaurant within the premises
    • this needs to be specifically endorsed on the licence
    • the restaurant must be open to the general public and not run as a private club
  • free drinking water must be available to patrons whenever alcohol is served 
  • a sign must be displayed at the front of the premises that:
    • shows the name of the premises
    • the type of liquor licence held
    • either the business or activity carried out on the premises or the kind of premises
    • the name of the licensee
  • an incident register must be maintained if the premises trades past midnight 
  • conditions can be imposed on the licence, either under the liquor laws, or by Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW)

An accommodation premises can also operate a private restaurant serving meals to residents and their guests only. A private restaurant does not need to be endorsed on the licence.

Primary Service Authorisation (PSA)

A primary service authorisation can be obtained from L&GNSW to allow alcohol to be sold without accommodation or a meal. (in a public restaurant).

This can be obtained as part of a licence application for a new accommodation-premises or as an additional trading entitlement for an existing accommodation-premises. 

An application fee applies to this authorisation and a community impact statement (CIS) is required.

A community impact statement (CIS) provides evidence that you’ve advised your local community of your intention to operate a PSA, and provides them with an opportunity to provide comment. This allows L&GNSW to gauge the level of support for your application. 

 On-premises catering licence

​A catering service is defined under the Liquor Act 2007 as a ‘service for supplying food or liquor (or both) for consumption at a function, occasion or event.’

A function is also defined within the Act, and can include weddings, parties, balls, dinners, corporate events, arts events, marketing events and other similar occasions of limited duration.

If you are proposing to sell alcohol as part of a catering service at functions, occasions or events, the most appropriate liquor licence is an on-premises licence that relates to a catering service. The two main types of catering are:

  1. Food Caterer 
  2. Function Centre

Where the licensed premises are an office and where catered functions, occasions or events are held elsewhere, a Sale On Other Premises Authorisation (SOOPA) is required.

Sale on other premises authorisation

An on-premises catering class licence can also be authorised to allow the licensee to sell liquor for consumption on other premises in circumstances and times approved by ILGA. 

This is known as a sale on other premises authorisation, and certain conditions and requirements apply, including:

  • The licensee must provide written notice to L&GNSW, the local police and the local council of proposals to provide catering services at a function to be held off premises unless it is a small, private function for 100 or fewer people. 

  • The licensee must not sell or supply liquor on any premises in respect of which an application for a liquor licence or extended trading hours has been refused in the previous two years. 

  • The Secretary or L&GNSW can give written directions to the licensee or an employee or agent that relates to the operation of the authorisation. This can include a direction prohibiting or restricting the sale of liquor at certain times.

The sale on other premises licence may be restricted when used inappropriately – for example:

  • The operation of a caterer’s licence to avoid conditions attached to other liquor licences that would usually be required to stop the sale and supply of liquor
  • The use of a catering licence to facilitate pop-up restaurants that are operated at premises for extended periods of time
  • Licensees failing to give required written notice to L&GNSW, the local police, or local council of a proposal to provide catering services at a function.

Requirements under the liquor laws

Requirements applying to an on-premises licence for catering include:

  • Free drinking water must be available to patrons wherever alcohol is served
  • All staff hold current Responsible  Service of Alcohol (RSA)  Competency Cards
  • Display of mandatory liquor signage i.e. under 18s not to be served alcohol. A sign must be displayed at the front of the licensee’s premises that shows:
    • the name of the premises
    • the type of liquor licence held
    • either the business or activity carried out on the premises or the kind of premises
    • the name of the licensee - this requirement does not apply where the licence is being exercised away from the licensee’s premises
  • Food of a nature and quantity consistent with the responsible service of alcohol must be available whenever liquor is sold or supplied
  • An incident register must be maintained if the premises function, occasion or event trades past midnight
  • Advanced written notice of certain functions is to be provided to L&GNSW, the local police, and local council if the event is held away from the licensed premises. 
    • A tiered, risk-based approach is taken for notice requirements, depending on the anticipated number of people that will be catered to: 

Up to 100 people
101-1,999 people
​2,000+ people
​Functions open to the public (incl ticketed and non-ticketed functions

14 days

14 days ​
28 days 
Private functions
(weddings, birthdays, office functions, and others not open to the public


No notice required



14 days ​

14 days 

  • Notice is not needed for smaller, private functions for 100 or fewer people that may often be held on private residences. However, there may be times where a licensee is unclear whether liquor can be sold or supplied on certain premises under the related development consent - for example on a business premises

    In these instances, the licensee should still notify the local council, or seek clarification from the council about what is permitted.

Written notice to L&GNSW should be made by email to: compliance.info@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au and should include:

  • the address of the premises on which the function is to be held
  • the name of the occupier of those premises
  • the nature of the function
  • the number of persons for whom catering services are to be provided at the function
  • the date on which, and the hours during which, the function is to be held.

 What you'll need

  • a floor plan showing the proposed boundaries for the licensed area
  • if applicable, a copy of your local council development approval or consent
  • requested liquor trading hours
  • details of the venue owner
  • contact details for you or a person authorised to submit your application
  • if applicable, a completed applicant declaration (TDEC5) (PDF, 177KB)
  • payment.

Applying for a nightclub or extended trading authorisation
If you are applying for a nightclub or an extended trading authorisation with your on-premises licence you will need to prepare a community impact statement (CIS). 

A community impact statement (CIS) provides evidence that you’ve advised your local community of your intention to operate an on-premises liquor licence, and provides them with an opportunity to provide comment. 

This allows L&GNSW to gauge the level of support for your application. Find out more about community impact statements.

If applying as an individual you’ll also need:
If you're applying as an organisation you'll also need:
  • ABN, ACN or Y/INC
  • the names and birthdates of all directors and officeholders (if it is a proprietary company)
  • a current Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) extract
  • details of an appointed Approved Manager (if applicable).

 Training

​​​The licensee and all staff involved in selling, serving or supplying alcohol need to have completed an approved Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course and hold a valid NSW competency card. 

This requirement also applies to security staff and promotional staff conducting tastings on the premises.

The Liquor Regulation 2018 introduced an additional two compulsory courses for licensees and managers: 

  1. Licensee training 
  2. Advanced licensee training

It is best practice to keep copies of your and your staff’s qualifications in a register on the premises. 

 Trading and extended hours

Standard Trading Hours


​Day
Standard trading hours ​
​Monday - Saturday
​5am - midnight
​Sunday
​10am - 10pm 
​Good Friday
​12 noon - 10pm 

5am - 12midnight: alcohol can only be served with or in addition to a meal in the dining room
​Christmas Day
​12 noon - 10pm 

5am - 12midnight: alcohol can only be served with or in addition to a meal in the dining room
​New Year's Eve
​From the start of standard trading to 2am the next day - unless extended trading hours have been approved

Extended hours - if permitted can reach up to 18-hours trading. 

Extended Trading Hours 


​Business activity or kind of premises
​Extended hours
​Restaurant

Principal activity must be preparation and serving of meals to the public

Under 18s allowed
​Monday to Saturday: midnight – 5am

Sunday:
5am – 10am or 10pm – 12 midnight

CIS required
​Public entertainment venue – nightclub

Principal activity must
be provision of public entertainment

Under 18s allowed – must be with a responsible adult



Monday to Saturday: midnight – 5am

Sunday:
5am – 10am or 10pm - midnight

CIS required

​Public entertainment venue – theatre or cinema

Principal activity must
be provision of public entertainment

Under 18s allowed

Monday to Saturday: midnight – 5am

Sunday:
5am – 10am or 10pm –midnight

CIS required

​Tertiary institution

Premises must be a tertiary institution, and alcohol can be sold to any adult (subject to individual licence conditions)

Under 18s allowed



Monday to Saturday: midnight – 5am

Sunday:
5am – 10am or 10pm –midnight

CIS required

​Motel

Principal activity must be provision of accommodation

Under 18s allowed



​Not applicable – alcohol can be sold to residents or employees at any time
​Caterer

Principal activity must be provision of catering services

Under 18s allowed



Monday to Saturday: midnight – 5am

Sunday:
5am – 10am or 10pm –midnight

CIS required

Vessel 

Premises must be a vessel that transports passengers such as on a cruise 

Under 18s allowed 
​Not applicable – alcohol can be sold from one hour before the vessel starts its voyage until 30 minutes after the voyage ends

All alcohol must be consumed on board and as part of the voyage.

Daily 6-hour closure period

A 6-hour closure period applies to all liquor licences, including those with extended trading hours. It usually starts at 4am and ends at 10am each day. 

You can apply to change the 6-hour closure period:

  • temporarily
  • permanently
  • to different times on different days of the week. 

In your application, you need to provide detail on:

  • the current and proposed hours of closure, and why the closing period should be changed 
  • the demonstrated or likely needs of patrons
  • the interests of the local community 
  • the opinion of local police on the proposal, if any
  • ways you will minimise harm associated with misuse and abuse of alcohol - including harm arising from violence and other anti-social behaviour
  • ways you will promote, sell and supply alcohol safely and responsibly
  • ways the proposal will not detract from the amenity of community life.
Resources

 Customising your licence

You can tailor your licence to meet your needs by applying for authorisations and exemptions (fees may apply). This table will help you.

Flexible licensing optionsRelevant form
Allows an on-premises licence (other than a vessel) to extend trading hours, or vary extended trading hours already allowed
Extended trading authorisation (PDF, 174KB)
Allows extended trading for a special occasion on a specified date
Extended trading authorisation - special occasion (PDF, 842KB)
Allows minors to attend functions in specified areas
Minors function authorisation (PDF, 122KB)
Allows sale/supply of liquor for consumption on the licensed premises other than with, or ancillary to, another product or service
Primary service authorisation (PDF, 149KB)
Allows an on-premises licence that operates as a catering service or tour operator to sell liquor by retail for consumption on premises which are not their own
Sale on other premises authorisation (PDF, 126KB)
Allows sale of liquor on a vessel at specified times outside the period commencing one hour before the vessel starts a voyage or passage and ending 30 minutes after the voyage or passage is complete
Vessel trading authorisation (PDF, 118KB)
​Allows minors to attend functions in some or all of the licensed premises, (only applicable to an on-premises with "other public entertainment" class)

Minors functions authorisation (PDF, 122KB)



To access other forms for an on-premises licence please visit the licence forms page.

 Signage

​​The law requires that all types of licensed venues display liquor signs. This includes a number of compulsory signs, depending on which licence and authorisations you have.


 Costs

Your application costs include:

  • an application fee
  • a non-refundable processing fee.

Use our Liquor Fee Schedule to calculate your fee.

Ongoing licence fees

An on-premises licence is subject to annual liquor licence fee, due in April each year. Read more about annual liquor licence fees.

 Apply

​​Complete the application form:

Lodging your application online has several advantages:

  • you receive a 10% discount
  • the online form easier to complete
  • it speeds up processing time.

Once your application is lodged, we will advertise it on the Liquor and Gaming Application Noticeboard for 30 days - or 14 days for certain on-premises restaurant licences. The community can comment on your application, as well as people who were consulted as part of the CIS.

You must be 18 years or older and authorised to lodge this licence application.

 More information

We're here to help. 

Use our online feedback form to send us your questions, suggestions or feedback. You can also:

Access the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au 

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