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

Small bar licence

* The information on this page contains updated content from the former fact sheet: FS3024 Small bar licence.

To operate a bar that holds a maximum of 100 patrons without gaming machines or takeaway alcohol, a small bar licence may be the best fit for you.

Convert to a small bar licence

Under the new Liquor Regulation 2018, you can convert an on-premises or a hotel general bar licence to a small bar licence free of charge for 12 months from 1 September 2018. 

Find out more about converting your licence.

 A small bar licence...

  • allows alcohol to be sold for consumption on the licensed premises but does not allow takeaway sales

  • doesn't permit gaming machines, keno, or betting 

  • enables you to provide entertainment - unless this will change the principal use of your venue in which case you may need development consent from your local council

  • allows standard trading hours between 12noon and 2am - depending on your development consent

  • is exempt from trading hours risk loading fees

  • allows your business to stay open outside liquor trading hours although you must not sell or supply alcohol during these times

  • is exempt from the liquor licence freeze, as small bars are generally well-managed, with lower rates of violence, and fewer compliance issues than other late trading venues 

  • may be  exempt from the requirement to submit a community impact statement (CIS) in certain circumstances – see the What you’ll need section below

  • doesn't permit people under 18 on the licensed premises during liquor trading hours, though they can be on the premises during times when alcohol is not being sold or supplied.


 Businesses not eligible for a small bar licences

​Some smaller licensed venues are not eligible for a small bar licence. Depending on your venue, you may require a:

  • hotel licenceto provide gaming machines, keno or betting, or offer takeaway sales.
  • general bar licenceto have more than 100 patrons on your licensed premises, subject to development consent.

 What you'll need

Development consent and notification

Before you apply for a small bar licence, contact your local council to confirm if you need development consent.

If you do need a development consent, notify both NSW Police and the Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry within 2 working days of lodging your development application with the council.

You must also follow this process if you apply to vary your development consent.

In your notification, include:

  • the record of lodgement you received when you lodged your development application  
  • the proposed licence name
  • the premises address
  • the date of the development application
  • the council or consent authority name.

If you fail to notify NSW Police and the Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry within two days of lodging your development application with the council, you must submit a Category B community impact statement with your small bar licence application.

Community impact statement

A community impact statement (CIS):

  • provides evidence that you’ve advised your local community of your intention to operate a small bar
  • gives the community an opportunity to comment
  • allows us to gauge the level of support for your application. 

What else you need before you apply

Submit the following items with your application:

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

If you’re converting to a small bar from an on-premises or a hotel general bar, you may convert your licence for free until 1 September 2019.

If applying as an individual you'll also need:

  • evidence of your Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) qualifications, including your Licensee training and Advanced licensee training qualifications, if required
  • a current National Police Certificate issued within the last three months
  • the three identity documents you used when applying for the National Police Certificate.

If applying as an organisation you'll also need:

  • ABN, ACN or Y/INC
  • the names and birthdates of all directors and office holders (if it is a proprietary company)
  • a current Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) extract
  • a completed appointment of manager notice.

 Training

Licensees and all staff involved in the selling, service or supply of alcohol need to have completed a 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: Licensee training and Advanced licensee training.

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

 Varying or extending your trading hours

​Small bar standard trading hours are midday to 2am, Monday to Sunday, with the exception of Good Friday and Christmas Day.

You can apply to extend your trading hours:

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

The table below outlines the standard trading hours and maximum extended trading hours for a small bar licence.

​Trading subject to 6-hour closure
Small Bars​​Good Friday and Christmas Day
​Trading hours - all days of the week
12noon - 2am 
Subject to development
consent conditions
Not permitted ​
​Extended hours - if permitted

​10am - 5am 
​Not permitted 


You can apply for an extended trading authorisation:

  • when you apply for your small bar licence
  • after your small bar licence is approved. If you select this option, you will need to go through the council development application and CIS process again.

Forms for flexible licensing options 

Consult the Liquor Fee Schedule for cost of application. 

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. 


Flexible licensing optionsRelevant form
Allows trading outside standard trading hours
Extended trading authorisation for small bars (PDF, 1MB)
Allows extended trading for a special occasion on a specified date
Extended trading authorisation - special occasion (PDF, 842KB)
Allows non-metropolitan venues to sell liquor up to 3am on up to 12 occasions annually
Multi-occasion extended trading authorisation (PDF, 154KB)

 Licence requirements

​A small bar licence is subject to most regulatory controls that apply to other licences where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises:

  • the bar must be open to the public
  • free drinking water must be available to patrons
  • food must be made available to patrons whenever alcohol is sold
  • a sign stating the name of the premises, the type of liquor licence held and the name of the licensee must be displayed at the front of the premises
  • an incident register must be maintained if the premises are authorised to trade past midnight.

 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-refiundable processing fee.

Use our Liquor Fee Schedule to calculate your fee.

Ongoing licence fees

A small bar 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 is easier to complete
  • it speeds up processing time.

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

Once your application is lodged, we will advertise it on the Liquor and Gaming Application Noticeboard for 30 days. The community can comment on your application, as well as people who were consulted as part of the CIS process, if applicable.

 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