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Small bar licence

If you want to operate a bar that holds a maximum of 120 patrons without gaming machines, a small bar licence may be the best fit for you.

Convert to a small bar licence

Under the Liquor Regulation 2018, you can convert an on-premises or a hotel general bar licence to a small bar licence free of charge until 28 February 2021.

Conversions cannot be reversed and existing licences will be cancelled when a small bar conversion is approved. On-premises licence holders wishing to convert to a small bar licence must obtain development consent that permits the premises to be operated as a small bar.

Download and complete: Small bar licence conversion application form - AM0246 PDF, 734.54 KB.​

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 supporting materials for your licence.

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  • allows alcohol to be sold for consumption on the licensed premises
  • allows house-made cocktails mixed on-site to be sold for consumption away from the licensed premises, provided they are packaged in sealed containers
  • 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 12pm 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
  • permits under 18s on the licensed premises in certain circumstances – see the Minors in Small Bars 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 120 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 a development consent for a small bar is not already in place you may not need to complete a community impact statement under the Liquor Act.

If you need a new development consent, or to vary an existing development consent, in order to run a small bar in the premises, you should notify both NSW Police and the Secretary of the NSW Department of Customer Service within two working days of lodging your small bar development application with the council.

Provided you notify both the above stakeholders within the two day timeframe, you will not have to complete a Category B community impact statement.

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 Customer Service 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.

If development consent for a small bar is already in place, a community impact statement under the Liquor Act is required

If consent is already in place for a small bar, or council confirm you are not required to vary your existing DA, you must submit a Category B community impact statement with your small bar licence application.

Community impact statements

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.

This process takes at least 30 days and must be completed before you lodge your small bar application.

Standard Conditions Form

Notices

Application Notices:

Once your application is lodged, you will be provided with a Public Site Notice which you will need to affix to your premises until the application is granted. Council and Police will be automatically notified of your application.

A paper form version of the site notices can be downloaded below if you wish to complete them manually at your convenience prior to lodgement of 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, 173.74 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 28 February 2021.

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 bars that regularly provide meals on their premises between opening time and 10pm have the option to allow minors in the company of a responsible adult until 10pm. This allows families to dine-in together in seated areas of small bars during the day and earlier hours of the evening, just as they can in dining areas of pubs and clubs.

Small bars that wish to make use of this option must ensure the correct signage is in place to convey that they are choosing to permit minors.

Small bars can also apply for a ‘Minors Authorisation’ if they wish to allow minors at other times up until midnight, or in different circumstances. This is available where a small bar provides diverse offerings that are appropriate for minors in addition to bar services - for example:

  • retail offerings – book or record stores
  • live music and entertainment, arts and cultural events
  • catering for family-oriented functions like birthdays and weddings.

Conditions can be attached to this Authorisation, and minors may be required to be accompanied by a responsible adult depending on the services offered.

Small bars that wish to make use of this option must ensure the correct signage is in place to convey that they are choosing to permit minors.

If granted the authorisation, appropriate signage must be displayed on the premises, including the times and circumstances where minors are permitted.

Is my small bar “regularly providing meals”?

Small bars that regularly provide meals on their premises from opening time until 10pm can decide whether they will allow minors in the company of a responsible adult.

This means meals need to be available for customers to order during these times.

The meals can’t be just bar snacks – they must be genuine meals that are served in seated areas on the premises.

Customers should have no difficulty locating a food menu, which shows meals can be ordered up until at least 10pm.

Applying for a Minors Authorisation

You can apply for the Minors Authorisation using the Minors Authorisation – Small Bars form - AM0041 PDF, 1109.54 KB. (updated form will be available Friday 11 December).

When your application is assessed, a range of relevant factors will be considered – including but not limited to:

  • your small bar’s business model and types of services offered that are appropriate for minors
  • any proposed harm minimisation measures such as CCTV cameras and conditions around the times and circumstances where minors are permitted
  • level of supervision – including the venue’s staff to patron ratio, particularly if it is proposed that minors will be unaccompanied by a responsible adult.

Preferably, applications should be accompanied by a Plan of Management that explains how any risks to minors will be addressed.

Each application will be assessed on its merits.

Displaying the correct signage

All small bars must display the correct signage telling patrons the following information:

  • Whether minors are allowed on premises, and
  • The time period minors are allowed on premises
  • The time period minors are NOT allowed on premises

Small bars that do not allow minors on premises due to the nature of their business model (e.g. cocktail bars only) can simply display the sign which prohibits minors from entering the premises.

These signs may be downloaded from the Signs for your business webpage for self-print, or ordered from the Liquor & Gaming NSW online shop.

Compliance monitoring

Small bars can be declared off-limits to minors if serious issues arise - for example, if liquor is ever sold to a minor. A Minors Authorisation for a small bar can also be revoked.

Small bars are allowed to sell house-made cocktails for take-away consumption if the cocktails are in sealed containers.

The cocktails must be mixed on the licensed premises to be sold for take-away.

Due to restrictions on take-away sales on restricted trading days, small bars are not allowed to sell take-away house-made cocktails on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

​Small bar standard trading hours are 12pm (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.

From 30 April 2021, applications for an extended trading authorisation to trade beyond 2am require a Category B Community Impact Statement.

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

Day

Standard trading hours

Extended trading hours - if permitted

Monday - Sunday

12 noon – 2am* (next day)

2am – 5am

Good Friday

12 noon – 10pm

Midnight – 5am (Good Friday eve)

Christmas Day

12 noon – 10pm

Midnight – 5am (Christmas Eve)

New Year's Eve

Normal trading

Normal trading

* Includes automatic extended trading between midnight and 2am for small bars under the NSW liquor laws.

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, 969.3 KB 
Allows extended trading for a special occasion on a specified dateExtended trading authorisation - special occasion PDF, 801.42 KB
Allows non-metropolitan venues to sell liquor up to 3am on up to 12 occasions annuallyMulti-occasion extended trading authorisation PDF, 845.7 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-refundable processing fee.

Use our Liquor Fee Schedule to calculate your fee.

Licence fees

Pro-rata annual liquor licence fee

A small bar licence is subject to a pro-rata annual liquor licence fee depending on the time of year your liquor licence is granted.

This fee covers the amount of time you use the liquor licence in its first year before the billing cycle starts on 15 March each year. Calculate your pro-rata fee.

Annual liquor licence fee

A small bar licence is subject to an annual liquor licence fee, due in May each year. Read more about annual liquor licence fees.

What you need to know

This form contains a list of standard conditions which the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority and/or its delegates may impose if the licence is granted.

Special instructions

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority and/or its delegates may impose additional or alternative conditions if warranted. However, the party seeking additional or alternative conditions must demonstrate the need for those conditions.

If you would like to seek alternate conditions, and/or additional conditions, please indicate the relevant condition number, alternative condition text and/or additional condition as well as the reasons in the space provided below the conditions list. You can attach additional information on separate pages if required.

Please attach the completed form to your online liquor licence application at lodgement.

Lodging this form with your liquor licence application will reduce the processing time.

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

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

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 Liquor &Gaming NSW

Access the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 at the Legislation website.