Fact Sheet: Liquor and Restaurants

Licensed restaurants

The focus of a restaurant is to supply and sell meals prepared on the premises for people to consume at the restaurant. A restaurant licence authorises the sale and supply of liquor, ancillary to a meal, to a patron seated at a dining table (or other fixed structure used as a table).

For a restaurant licence to be issued, a venue must have a kitchen that is equipped to provide meals and a dining area that is always set up with tables and chairs for dining. It must also have sufficient toilet facilities.

Liquor without a Meal permits

Where a restaurant has an Extended Trading Permit (Liquor without a Meal), alcohol can be supplied whether or not it is ancillary to a meal, providing:

  • The liquor is consumed on the premises by a person sitting at a table; and
  • The sale and consumption of liquor at the premises does not contravene any conditions imposed on the licence.

If the licensed premises also provides accommodation, liquor may be served to lodgers either in their rooms or in a place to which the permit applies, whether or not the liquor is served with or without a meal.

Essentially, every restaurant licence is subject to the conditions that:

  • The business conducted at the premises must consist primarily of the supply of meals to customers which must be eaten on the premises; and
  • (Except for restaurants with Liquor without a Meal permits) liquor must not be consumed unless it is ancillary to a meal.

Unlicensed restaurants

Only liquor that was brought to the premises by the patron can be consumed on an unlicensed premises. A person who supplies liquor in an unlicensed restaurant commits an offence.

The maximum fine for a penalty of this nature is $2000.

Removing unfinished liquor from a restaurant

Licensed premises – A person who purchases liquor at a restaurant is permitted to take the unconsumed portion of that liquor away with them on completion of their meal.

For example: Julie buys a bottle of red at her favourite licensed restaurant where she has gone to eat. Not being a big drinker, she only consumes one glass of wine with her meal. When she is ready to leave, Julie can lawfully take the unfinished bottle with her.

However, in licensed restaurants that are permitted to serve liquor without a meal, a person cannot remove the unfinished portion, as the Act states that unfinished liquor can only be removed from the premises when it is purchased ancillary to a meal.

Unlicensed premises – A person can lawfully remove any unconsumed portion of liquor that they have taken to an unlicensed restaurant.

BYO wine only policy

Some licensed restaurants allow patrons to bring their own wine only – beer and other liquor must subsequently be purchased at the premises. This is purely a commercial decision which the licensee can implement at their discretion.

Regulated premises

Essentially, most places that the public has access to which are not licensed are determined to be "regulated" under the Act, including unlicensed restaurants.

The Liquor Control Act 1988 states that it is illegal to sell or supply liquor to juveniles or intoxicated people on licensed or regulatedpremises. The maximum penalty for this offence is $10,000.

For more information on regulated premises, see the Regulated Premises Fact Sheet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this fact sheet is general in nature – for full details, reference should be made to the Liquor Control Act 1988.

Last updated: 16/03/2015 13:54:29 PM

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