Apply for a liquor licence

Changes to the NT Liquor Act

On 1 October 2019, liquor laws changed in the Northern Territory (NT).

Find out about changes to the NT liquor laws.

You need a liquor licence or be registered to sell or supply alcohol in the Northern Territory (NT).

You can apply for a liquor licence as any of the following:

  • individual
  • registered company
  • partnership.

You will also need to pay a risk-based annual licensing fee.

You won't need to pay this fee until January 2021.

Find out more about the fees on the alcohol reform website.

|

You don’t need a liquor licence or registration if you are going to sell, supply or serve alcohol:

  • at most Australian Defence Force establishments with the authority of the naval, army or air force authorities
  • within the grounds of the Legislative Assembly on the authority of the Speaker
  • on board some vessels, aircraft or trains.

You don't need a liquor licence or registration if you are going to sell, supply or serve alcohol or liquor:

  • to residents or patients within a retirement village, residential care facility or hospital
    • so long as it is no more than two standard drinks per person per day and
    • the body responsible for the village, facility or hospital approves
  • if it is one liquor product sold as part of a gift basket or floral arrangement
  • if you are an employer, to your staff and their families and guests - for example, at a Christmas party for your staff
  • in essences (such as vanilla) in containers of 50ml or less.

Serving free drinks to customers

If you have a business, for example, a hairdresser or a bookshop, and want to give free drinks to customers, you need to register as a complimentary server of liquor first.

You can register for one, five or 10 years by filling in an application and submitting it to Licensing NT.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a certificate that shows you are a registered server of complimentary drinks.

This allows you to serve no more than two standard drinks in a day to a customer.

Find out how to register to serve free alcoholic drinks.

Selling wholesale alcohol

If you want to sell wholesale alcohol in the NT, you must be registered.

Find out how to register as a wholesaler of liquor.

If you don't fit one of the categories above, you will need to apply for a liquor licence.

When applying, you must choose an authority for your licence.

There are various authorities to choose from and you will need to decide which best suit your needs based on:

  • your business type
  • the activities you want to run at your venue.

Depending on your business, you may need to apply for more than one authority.

Example

If you want to run a pub and trade late at night, you would apply for the following two authorities:

  • public bar
  • late night.

Risk classifications

Each authority comes with a risk classification:

  • very low
  • low
  • moderate
  • high
  • very high.

The classification goes towards calculating the annual fee you need to pay for your licence.

Types of authorities

Read below to find out about types of authorities and their associated conditions and risk classifications.

Small bar

Risk classification: moderate

A small bar authority lets you sell alcohol on or in a licensed premises with a maximum capacity of 100 patrons.

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are 10am to midnight every day
  • standard hours on New Year's Eve can be extended from midnight to 2am as long as you notify the Director of Liquor Licensing before 3 December each year
  • light meals must be available to buy during operating hours.

Restaurant

Risk classification: low

This authority lets you sell alcohol to patrons with food at the premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are 10am to midnight every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day
  • trade on Good Friday and Christmas Day is allowed from 11am to 9pm as long as you only sell alcohol to patrons who buy a full meal during those hours
  • standard hours on New Year's Eve can be extended from midnight to 2am as long as you notify the Director of Liquor Licensing before 3 December each year
  • the kitchen must remain open during the hours of operation until 1.5 hours before the licensed premises closes.

Restaurant bar

Risk classification: moderate

You can apply for this authority if you have or are applying for a restaurant authority.

It lets you sell alcohol to patrons with or without food at the premises.

Key conditions include:

  • a patron does not have to buy a meal to buy alcohol
  • standard days and hours of trade are 10am to midnight every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day
  • trade on Good Friday and Christmas Day is allowed from 11am to 9pm as long as you only sell alcohol  to patrons who buy a full meal during those hours
  • standard hours on New Year's Eve can be extended from midnight to 2am as long as you notify the Director of Liquor Licensing before 3 December each year
  • the kitchen must remain open during the hours of operation until 1.5 hours before the licensed premises closes
  • the licensed premises must look like a restaurant.

Bring your own (BYO)

Risk classification: very low

This authority allows you to serve alcohol brought by a patron to have with their meal at your restaurant or cafe.

If you run a BYO restaurant, you will need to apply for a liquor licence by 1 June 2021 to be able to trade past 1 October 2021.

Takeaway

Risk classification: very high

A takeaway authority allows you to sell alcohol to customers who will drink it away from the licensed premises.

Only existing takeaway liquor outlets will be able to operate under this authority.

No further takeaway licences will be considered until at least 31 August 2023.

Wine must not be sold in a cask or box larger than 2L.

Beer must not be sold in glass bottles large or equal to 750ml.

Darwin

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are:
    • Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm
    • Saturday and public holidays 9am to 10pm
    • where the authority operates with another authority, you are allowed to trade on a Sunday from 10am to 10pm
    • no trading on Good Friday or Christmas Day
Katherine

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are:
    • Monday to Friday 2pm to 8pm
    • Saturday and public holidays 12 noon and 8pm
    • where the authority operates with another authority, you are allowed to trade on a Sunday between 12 noon and 8pm
    • no trading on Good Friday or Christmas Day
Alice Springs

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are:
    • Monday to Friday 2pm to 9pm
    • Saturday and public holidays 10am to 9pm
    • where the authority operates with another authority, you are allowed to trade on a Sunday  between 10am and 9pm
    • no trading on Good Friday or Christmas Day
Barkly excluding Elliot/ Marlinja

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are:
    • Monday to Saturday 2pm to 8pm
    • no trading on Sunday, Good Friday or Christmas Day.
Elliot/ Marlinja

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are:
    • Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 7pm
    • no trading on Sunday or public holidays including Good Friday or Christmas Day.
East Arnhem

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are:
    • Sunday to Friday 2pm to 8pm
    •  

Lodging

Risk classification: low

This authority lets you sell alcohol to guests staying at your accommodation to drink on or off the premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of operation are:
    • for a minibar - 24 hours a day every day of the year
    • for room service - from 10am to midnight every day of the year
  • alcohol can only be served, sold or supplied to a guest staying at the premises at the minibar or through room service.

Wayside Inn

Risk classification: moderate

This authority allows you to sell alcohol to guests staying at your accommodation to drink at the licensed premises.

You can also sell alcohol to patrons who are not guests at the premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of operation are 7am to midnight every day of the year except Good Friday and Christmas Day
  • the standard hours may be extended from midnight to 7am every day of the year except Good Friday and Christmas Day if fuel, meals and accommodation are available to buy during those hours
  • the accommodation must consist of three separate rooms or units, and be able to accommodate at least six patrons
  • a full meal must be available to buy as follows:
    • breakfast between 7am and 9am
    • lunch between 12 noon and 2pm
    • dinner between 6pm and 8pm
  • a light meal must be available at all other times the premises is open.

Casino

Risk classification: high

You must have a casino licence to apply for this authority.

Conditions are specified in the licence.

Special venture

Risk classification: very low

If you operate tours or provide specialist services, you can apply for this authority.

A special venture authority allows you to sell alcohol to participants as long as it is not the main part of your services.

Key conditions include:

  • standard hours and days of operation are 5:30am to midnight any day that the service is provided
  • alcohol can only be sold to customers who have booked the service.

Producer

Risk classification: low

If you produce liquor products, this authority allows you to sell your products to the public at the place of manufacture, to drink on or off the premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard hours and days of operation are 10am to 10pm every day of the year except Good Friday and Christmas Day
  • a light meal must be available to patrons during the hours of operation.

Club

Risk classification: moderate

A club authority allows you to sell alcohol to members, guests and visitors to drink at the licensed premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are 10am to midnight every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day
  • trade on Good Friday and Christmas Day is allowed from 11am to 9pm as long as you only sell alcohol to patrons buying a full meal during those hours
  • standard hours on New Year's Eve can be extended from midnight to 2am as long as you notify the Director of Liquor Licensing before 3 December each year
  • trade on Anzac Day for a licence authorised by the Returned Services League (RSL) is allowed between 4:30am and 10am as long as you give 28 days’ notice
  • alcohol can only be sold to members or guests
  • a light meal must be available at least five days a week from 12pm to 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm
  • if you also hold a takeaway authority, you can only sell alcohol under that authority to a club member
  • there is no restriction on the total annual volume of alcohol that may be sold.

Community club

Risk classification: very low

A community club authority allows you to sell alcohol to members, guests and visitors to drink at the licensed premises.

The standard hours and days of trade and conditions of a community club authority are tailored to meet your needs as the licensee.

A limit applies to the total annual volume of alcohol that may be sold.

Catering

Risk classification: low

A catering authority allows you to sell, supply or serve alcohol to patrons as part of catering services for functions such as:

  • corporate events
  • cocktail parties
  • dinners.

You must get permission to sell or serve alcohol from the owner or occupier of the premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard hours and days of trade are 11:30am to midnight
  • alcohol may only be sold, supplied or served to patrons who are consuming food from the licensee.

Public bar

Risk classification: high

A public bar authority allows you to sell alcohol to patrons who will drink it at the licensed premises.

Key conditions include:

  • standard days and hours of trade are 10am to midnight every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day
  • trade on Good Friday and Christmas Day is allowed from 11am to 9pm as long as you only sell alcohol to patrons who buy a full meal during those hours
  • standard hours on New Year's Eve can be extended from midnight to 2am as long as you notify the Director of Liquor Licensing before 3 December each year
  • the premises must have camera surveillance
  • a full meal must be available for purchase at least five days a week between the following times:
    • 12 noon and 2pm and
    • 6am and 8pm.
  • a light meal must be available at all other times.

Major event

Risk classification: high

This authority allows you to sell alcohol to patrons attending a single event that is expected to:

  • have at least 1,500 attendees or
  • have a significant affect on public transport or local services or
  • require more than a usual amount of emergency services or police supervision.

Key conditions include:

  • security at the event must include at least two licensed crowd controllers for the first 100 patrons and one additional licensed crowd controller for each additional 100 patrons
  • all alcohol sold must be in open containers and no more than four containers may be sold to one person at a time.

Community event

Risk classification: very low

This authority allows you to sell alcohol to patrons at events that are organised on a regular but infrequent basis.

You must notify the Director at least 14 business days before the event.

Grocery store

Risk classification: very high

A grocery store authority allows you to sell alcohol products to customers who will drink it away from the licensed premises.

The premises must be part of, or attached to, your primary business of selling groceries or other non‑liquor items.

No new grocery store authorities will be issued under the Liquor Act 2019.

Special event

Risk classification: very low

This authority allows you to sell alcohol to patrons attending a single event that expects to have less than 1,500 attendees.

Late night

Risk classification: very high

You can only apply for this authority if you already have or are applying for:

  • a small bar authority or
  • a public bar authority.

A late night authority allows you to sell alcohol to patrons who will drink at the licensed premises from midnight to 2am.

An extended late night authority will allow you to sell alcohol to patrons who will drink at the licensed premises from midnight to 4am.

A lockout applies to an extended late night authority - patrons are not allowed to enter after 3am.

The hours can be extended by one hour on New Year's Day if written notice is given to the Director before 3 December.

Key conditions include:

  • no serving of free drinks
  • crowd controller security must be provided
  • video surveillance must be provided
  • live entertainment must be provided for patrons after 2am.

Adult entertainment

You can only apply for this authority if you have or are applying for a public bar authority.

It lets you host adult-themed entertainment or services on your premises.

There are three types of authorities that may apply:

  • adult entertainment
  • adult entertainment R-rated
  • adult entertainment explicit.
Adult entertainment

This authority allows staff to work topless or in lingerie.

It does not allow for genitals to be on display, whether deliberate or by accident.

This includes the anus, vulva, vagina, penis or scrotum.

Adult entertainment R-rated

This authority allows you to host the following:

  • general strip shows
  • R-rated entertainment
  • full nudity.
Adult entertainment explicit

This authority allows you to provide the following:

  • general and private strip shows
  • R-rated entertainment
  • full nude staff or entertainers
  • non-sexual contact between entertainers and patrons
  • voluntary audience participation.

If you have any questions about what licence or authority you need, contact Licensing NT on 08 8999 1800 or email agd.lrascompliancedwn@nt.gov.au.

Before you apply, you will need to identify at least one nominee.

Your nominee is responsible for the day-to-day management of the licensed premises.

It's good to have more than one nominee, in case they get sick or change jobs.

Before someone can become a nominee, they must:

Supporting information

Before you submit your application, you must make sure you have attached all of your supporting information.

If you don't supply everything, your application will be returned.

Supporting information includes:

To apply for a liquor licence with authorities, follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the application for a liquor licence or authority.

Application for a new liquor licence or authority PDF (724.9 KB)
Application for a new liquor licence or authority DOCX (68.3 KB)

If you are applying for a licence and authority for a special event, community event or major event, you will also need to fill in a supplementary information form.

Supplementary information for a liquor authority for an event PDF (719.3 KB)
Supplementary information for a liquor authority for an event DOCX (695.4 KB)

Step 2. Review the form and make sure you have selected the authorities you want attached to your liquor licence. If you are not sure, contact Licensing NT.

Step 3. Get a police history check for yourself and any nominees. You must attach the name and fingerprint certificate to your application before you submit it. Certificates are issued by SafeNT and can sometimes take weeks to process.

Step 4. Submit your form with all supporting documents and pay the fee at your nearest Territory Business Centre.

You can also email it and a receipt of the fee to agd.lrascompliancedwn@nt.gov.au.

If your application is complete, Licensing NT will assess it and tell you if you need to advertise your application.

This allows members of the public to formally object, if they meet certain criteria in the Liquor Act 2019.

After your application has been advertised, it will be referred to the Liquor Commission or its delegate for consideration.

All new applications are usually considered at a public hearing. You will be notified of the hearing date in advance, so you can attend.

The Liquor Commission will then decide whether or not to approve the application and grant a licence with authorities.

Once a decision is made, a formal notice will be issued afterwards.

Last updated: 07 November 2019

Share:

Was this page useful?

Describe your experience

More feedback options

To provide comments or suggestions about the NT.GOV.AU website, complete our feedback form.

For all other feedback or enquiries, you must contact the relevant government agency.