Liquor Licence NSW

To legally sell alcohol in NSW a liquor licence is required. Identifying which liquor licence type you apply for will be determined by the nature of business you conduct and the products or services you offer or plan to offer at your premises. 

We assist our clients with new liquor licence applications, along with transfers and amendments of existing liquor licenses.

In certain situations, there may be more than one liquor licence that is suitable for your circumstances, we can help determine the appropriate option.  

Solutions Law Liquor Lincesed

Types of liquor licences in NSW

Liquor licences applications can be complex and challenging to navigate alone. There are currently 10 liquor licences available. With our guidance, choosing your liquor license type and preparing your application for the appropriate liquor licence becomes a straightforward process. 

Note, the current fine for the sale of alcohol without authorisation is $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment, or both. This can apply to incorrect use of an existing liquor licence.

Small bar liquor licence

Small bar liquor licence NSW

Allows the operation of small bars with a maximum capacity of 120 persons. Operating hours are between 12noon and 2am with extensions available upon application. The sale of alcohol is limited to consumption on the premises only and takeaway sales are prohibited. Gaming, Keno and betting machines are also prohibited. 

Microbrewery and small distillery liquor licence​

Microbrewery and small distillery liquor licence NSW

With the rise in popularity of microbreweries and small scale production of alcohol, the government has introduced a ‘drink on premises’ authorisation. This allows the sale and consumption of full serving sizes (not just tastings) of alcohol on a licensed premises. The authorisation is tailored specifically to the microbrewery model and suited to new producers or existing producer/wholesaler licencees. Non-locally produced wines can also be sold on premises. Authorisation requires that suitable food options be available for purchase and local council zoning restrictions must be observed. 

On premise liquor licence

On premises liquor licence NSW

Allows the sale of alcohol for consumption on premises when other products or services like food, entertainment and accommodation are provided to customers. It also allows under 18s to be on the premises with restrictions. This licence is suited primarily to restaurants and cafes, live music and art venues, nightclubs, sporting and accommodation venues etc. This licence requires that sales of alcohol be a secondary service. Eg: Restaurant selling wine with a meal.

Solutions Law Club License

Club liquor licence NSW

Allows registered clubs to sell alcohol to members and guests. Alcohol can be consumed on and off the premises. This licence is suited to RSL, bowling and golf clubs. Where the club owns more than one premises, each is required to have a separate licence. Under 18s are restricted from entering and remaining in the bar area and fines apply where breaches occur. Additional authorisation may be sought to modify the areas individuals under 18 years are permitted. 

Hotel liquor licence

Hotel liquor licence NSW

Allows some of the broadest permissions for the sale and consumption of alcohol on premises. Sale of takeaway alcohol is permitted as are gaming facilities. This licence is suited to pubs, hotels with accommodation and large bars with capacity in excess of 120 people. Where additional approval has been sought, alcohol may be sold off-site. Applications require a Community Impact Statement to be completed. All staff involved with the selling of alcohol are required to complete the Responsible Service of Alcohol course, including the licensee. 

Solutions Law License

Producer wholesaler liquor licence NSW

Allows producers and wholesalers to sell alcohol to other businesses holding liquor licences. Brewers, distillers and winemakers are permitted to conduct tastings and sell other licensees’ products to the general public provided it is from a licenced premises. The online sale of alcohol is permitted (provided relevant consent has been authorised). 

Solutions Law

Packaged liquor licence NSW

Allows the sale of alcohol for consumption away from the licenced premises. It is suitable for bottle shops, supermarkets, general stores, online and mail order businesses. Where the sale of alcohol is not the primary activity, eg: supermarkets. The alcohol sales area and cash register must be in a different location to the main part of the store. This licence excludes service stations and convenience stores with floor area below 240 sq/m. Applications may require a Community Impact Statement to be completed. 

Surf club liqour licence

Surf club liquor licence NSW

There are 2 options for surf clubs; Limited licence and On-premises licence. The limited licence allows surf clubs to sell alcohol during approved functions and events, up to 52 times per year. The on-premises licence allows alcohol to be sold at events where premises are hired for social events, eg: weddings. 

Limited liquor liencence

Limited liquor licence NSW

Allow businesses, clubs and not for profit organisations to sell alcohol alongside their primary service or product at specific events. The limited licence allows the sale of alcohol at events that are considered to be infrequent in occurrence, to offer benefit to local communities and fall under the category of public entertainment. There are several variants available and suitability will be considered based on event length and frequency and age of attendees. 

When a liquor licence isn’t required

There are exemptions to liquor licensing requirements in certain circumstances, these include:

If you are considering selling any type of alcohol we always recommend seeking professional advice to assist in determining your licensing requirements. Where liquor is sold without licence or outside the scope of exemptions, penalties apply. Penalties also apply in relation to the sale or supply of alcohol to persons under the age of 18 years. 

When a liquor licence isn’t required​

Enquire with Anthony today:

Anthony Buda


Anthony has a passion for all matters relating to business and commercial law. His approach is direct, practical and focused on achieving commercially favourable results for all his clients.

He often assists landlords and tenants in structuring, examining and negotiating leases and commercial agreements to reduce expenses where possible. Anthony’s experience stretches from simple standalone commercial properties to shopping centres and industrial areas.

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