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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.

Applying tips:

Your application can take longer to review if we don’t have all the details we need to assess it. We will come back to you to obtain the missing information to progress your application. You can help us speed up the process by:

  • Providing all the correct information at the time you apply
  • Responding to our request for missing information as soon as possible after we contact you.

The information below will help you to prepare your application and gather all the necessary materials for your licence. However, if you're ready now...

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  • 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.

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

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

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

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 176.7 KB)
  • 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.

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.

​Small bar standard trading hours are midday to 2.00am, 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.

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 hoursExtended trading authorisation for small bars (PDF 588.1 KB) 
Allows extended trading for a special occasion on a specified dateExtended trading authorisation - special occasion (PDF 393.9 KB)
Allows non-metropolitan venues to sell liquor up to 3am on up to 12 occasions annuallyMulti-occasion extended trading authorisation (PDF 507.5 KB)

​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.

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.

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.

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

Apply online

Create a OneGov account to apply online for a new licence or maintain your existing licence online.

Apply offline

Note: Processing times take longer with offline forms and do not attract the 10% discount for online applications.

Advantages to lodging your application online:

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

Next steps

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.

We're here to help. 

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

Call: 1300 024 720 | Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm

Email: contact.us@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au

Visit: Level 6, 323 Castlereagh Street, Haymarket

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