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Minors in licensed venues

Minors are allowed in many licensed venues in NSW. However, there are strict controls in place for some types of venues, particularly:

  • small bars
  • hotels
  • registered clubs.

This is to prevent minors from getting access to alcohol and to ensure they are adequately supervised by a responsible adult.

Under NSW liquor laws, a responsible adult is defined as an adult who is:

  • a parent or guardian of the minor
  • the minor's spouse or de facto partner
  • standing in as the parent of the minor for the time being.

Offences for minors

Under NSW liquor laws, minors can be fined for breaking the law, such as entering or remaining in a bar area of hotel or registered club and consuming alcohol on a licensed premises.

A list of offences and penalties that apply to minors who break the law see underage drinking fines.

Examples of exceptions

Minors in small bars

A minor may legally enter and remain in a small bar that regularly provide meals if they are with a responsible adult, or if the small bar has a minors authorisation in place.

Refer to Small bar licence for more information.

Minors attending a function

A minor can avoid a penalty if they prove that they believed on reasonable grounds that a minors functions authorisation was in force for the hotel bar area.

Minors attending weddings in a club bar area

Minors are permitted in the bar area of club premises to attend a wedding reception of a member of the club, a child or parent of a member of the club, or for someone who a member of the club has acted as a guardian. The minor must have been formally invited to the reception.

Apprentices and trainees

Minors can enter and remain in parts of a hotel where a minors area authorisation is in force or in a licensed public entertainment venue without being in the company of a responsible adult if they are:

  • an apprentice or trainee as defined in the Apprentice and Traineeship Act 2001 and are receiving trade training that is not training in the sale, supply or service of alcohol.
  • receiving training and instruction in servicing, repairing, or maintaining gaming machines under the supervision of a licensed gaming machines technician.

Minors performing in a bar area

Minors are permitted in a bar area of a hotel or club premises while in the company of a responsible adult to perform in a show or other live entertainment performance.

Minors travelling through a bar area

Minors are permitted to travel through a bar area of a hotel or club premises while in the company of a responsible adult for as long as is reasonably necessary to access another area of the hotel or club premises that the minor may lawfully enter.

Unaccompanied minors and bottle shops

Unaccompanied minors are prohibited from entering or remaining in bottle shops, the liquor sales areas of supermarkets, or an area dedicated to the sale of liquor by retail in sealed containers on the licensed premises for consumption away from the licensed premises. A responsible adult must also not leave a minor unaccompanied in these areas.

The restriction does not capture situations where:

  • liquor is sold for takeaway or home delivery from a packaged liquor business that cannot do walk-up sales (for example, where the licensed premises is a home office)
  • an unaccompanied minor is in a supermarket with a liquor sales area, but is not in the liquor sales area
  • a minor leaves the area within a reasonable period after being informed by a responsible person that the minor must not be within the area
  • the minor is an employee and is not involved in the sale or supply of liquor (where this has been approved by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority)

Minors in a hotel, club, public entertainment venue or package liquor licence for a purpose, or in circumstances, approved by the Authority

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority may approve of certain purposes, or circumstances, of when a minor may remain in a hotel, club public entertainment venue or packaged liquor licence.