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Small Bars (Small Venue Licence)

Legislation passed in February 2013 allows for the granting of a new category of licence, “the Small Venue Licence”. 

The State Government says this new category of licence is to “encourage entrepreneurs to develop small businesses without the potential difficulties and costs associated with existing licences.”

Applications are of course open to anyone and we would encourage anyone to apply for a small venue licence if they meet the criteria.  These are:

  • Restricted to the Adelaide CBD (locations may be reviewed in the future)
  • Maximum capacity of 120 people (including internal and external areas)
  • Able to sell or supply liquor for on-premises consumption with no requirement to serve meals. (If meals are provided, unconsumed portions of bottled wine will be able to be taken from the premises.)
  • No sale of liquor for off-premises consumption
  • Small venues are authorised to trade from:
  • 11am to midnight on any day (other than Christmas Day or Good Friday)
  • midnight until 2am with an extended trading authorisation (other than Boxing Day or Easter Saturday)
  • 8am to 11am with an extended trading authorisation (other than Good Friday or Christmas Day)
  • Must comply with mandatory licence conditions including the General Code of Practice
  • Entertainment is permitted at small venues (other than prescribed entertainment), subject to specific licence conditions. The following entertainment is prohibited—
  • entertainment of a sexually explicit nature
  • entertainment involving fighting (e.g. wrestling, boxing or martial arts)
  • If a venue wishes to offer entertainment outside of the standard hours of trade (11am to midnight) a separate entertainment consent is required.
  • Gaming is not permitted
  • Applicants will need to meet the requirements for a ‘fit and proper person’ test and, where applicable, relevant Council development approvals and landlord’s consent.
  • Small Venue licence holders are covered by the same industrial awards as other categories of liquor licence.

An annual fee will apply for a small venue licence.

All small venue licence applications will need to be advertised.  There is no right to object to the licence application, however there is a general right for residents and businesses to make written submissions to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner regarding a small venue licence application.  The Commissioner must have regard to these submissions when determining whether to grant a licence however there is no requirement for conciliation.

Many existing small venues currently hold Entertainment Venue or Special Circumstance Licences and clearly when this new category of licence was suggested the AHA was active in ensuring existing licence holders would not be disadvantaged.

Small Venue licences are covered by the HIGA Industrial award that applies to other bars, taverns and hotels.

Holders of Small Venue Licences are also eligible to become members of the AHA, and receive all the benefits the AHA provides.

Application and submission forms too apply for a Small Venue Licence are available at