Liquor licence risk categories and authorities

If you want to apply for a liquor licence in the Northern Territory (NT), you must work out what type of liquor authority you need.

Liquor authorities set the rules and conditions of a liquor licence. There are different authorities to choose from. You must select one 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. This goes towards calculating the annual fee you need to pay for your licence.

An authority can be classified as any of the following:

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

Types of authorities

Read below to learn about the types of authorities and their associated conditions and risk classifications.

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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. Full meal means a meal expected to be served at a restaurant that is eaten when seated at a table or bar.
  • 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 of 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.

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 larger than 750ml.

There are other key conditions to include with takeaway authorities for locations listed below.

Alice Springs

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 Elliott / Marlinja

Standard days and hours of trade are:

  • Monday to Saturday 2pm to 8pm
  • no trading on Sunday, Good Friday or Christmas Day.

Darwin

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.

East Arnhem

Standard days and hours of trade are:

  • Monday to Friday 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday and public holidays 10am to 9pm
  • no trading on Good Friday or Christmas Day.

Elliott / Marlinja

Standard days and hours of trade are:

  • Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 7pm
  • no trading on Sunday, public holidays including Good Friday or Christmas Day.

Katherine

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.

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.

Lodging

Risk classification: low

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

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 2p
    • dinner between 6pm and 8pm.
  • A light meal must be available at all other times the premises is open.

Risk classification: high

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

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.

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 Leagues (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 2 pm 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.

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 effect 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.

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.

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.

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 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.
  • Light meals be available during operating hours. Light meal means a meal that may be eaten with the hands while standing. For example, finger food, canapé style plates, sandwiches, pies and tapas.

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 re 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 much 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.

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.

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

This 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 allows you to host the following:

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

Adult entertainment explicit

This allows you to host 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.

Contact

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

Last updated: 12 February 2021

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