In an effort to reactivate parts of the city centre, and to build a diverse, eclectic and unique night time culture, the City of Sydney encourages a varied mix of venues such as small bars.
Before you can open a small bar you must first find out if development consent is needed for the proposed premises. If consent is not required because there is an existing development approval and there are no changes required to the conditions of consent, you can apply for a liquor licence directly with the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.
However, if development consent is required for the premises, you will need to lodge a development application (DA).
To help you obtain the necessary approvals we have put together a series of resources such as a video of our Small Bars 101 Workshop and several documents, which can be downloaded below:
- How to open a small bar in the city
- How to open a small bar (flowchart)
- How to apply for a street or laneway event
- Small bars DA assessment process*
- How to complete the DA form for a small bar*
- Food and drink premises DA form
- Food and drink premises DA fact sheet.
* These documents are for guidance purposes only.
Please note: liquor licence applications and footpath usage applications can be submitted at the same time but approval will not be provided until development consent has been obtained. We suggest contacting a City planner for more information on 02 9265 9333.
Small bar applicants may also be eligible for small business grants.
To discuss opening a small bar, please contact:
Business Development Coordinator (Laneways and Small Bars)
02 9265 firstname.lastname@example.org
101 Small Bar Workshop
Martin O'Sullivan and Belinda Lai, Co-owners, GrasshopperMartin O'Sullivan is co-owner of Grasshopper and current Head of the Small Bar Association of NSW. Mr O'Sullivan has worked tirelessly in the establishment of the Association and furthering the public awareness for Small Bars. He has over 12 years' experience in hospitality management. He previously worked in IT, within the Finance industry.
Belinda W Lai is co-owner of Grasshopper and has a Masters in Finance and Accounting from UNSW. She has over 10 years' experience in running restaurants. She previously worked in Risk Management in the Banking Industry. Ms Lai works on the fundraising committee of Gallery 4a (Asian Australian Arts Foundation), to raise funds and awareness for contemporary Asian-Australian art.
Grasshopper was one of the first small bars to open in the Sydney CBD. It also received one of the first Finegrain Business Development Matched Grants, which were established to help the development of start-up small businesses.
Anthony Keon, Manager, Program Design & Development, Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing
Anthony Keon has worked at the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) in a variety of areas including Compliance, Policy and Strategic Engagement. During this time, he has overseen a number of programs such as disturbance complaints, violent venues/declared premises scheme, liquor accords and the imposition of conditions on licences. He currently manages an industry support team and is responsible for developing programs to support and assist industry and ensure compliance.Before he joined the OLGR, Mr Keon worked for 14 years in the liquor and hospitality industry, primarily as a venue operator. Anthony has spent nearly 10 years as a hotel general manager and licensee operating large 24-hour venues. He has also acted as a consultant in the opening of a restaurant and a nightclub. During this time, he was also actively involved in local liquor accords and was the secretary of the South Sydney Liquor Accord and chair of the Ballina Liquor Accord.
Andrew Rees, Area Planning Manager, City of SydneyAndrew Rees has 20 years' experience working in development assessment and strategic planning, and is currently responsible for the assessment and determination of all types of land uses (including commercial, retail, residential, educational, industrial etc) and construction of new buildings.
Some of the major applications Mr Rees has been involved in include the major Westfield redevelopment in Pitt Street, Sydney, the mixed use redevelopment site at the former 'Carlton United Brewery' on Broadway, the assessment of dozens of small bars, and countless numbers of restaurants and cafes and footway dining approvals. Mr Rees has attended the Land and Environment Court of NSW, including many Class 1 and 4 appeals regarding late-night trading licensed premises in Kings Cross and central Sydney.
Liam Saville, Licensed Premises Coordinator, City of SydneyLiam Saville has worked for the City of Sydney in a variety of roles, including as Project Coordinator with the City's Safe City Unit and as Operations Coordinator in the City Rangers. Mr Saville has worked as the Licensed Premises Coordinator within the Late Night & Licensed Premises Team for the past two years and is currently responsible for the Kings Cross area.
|How to open a small bar in the city||PDF 751.1 KB||Download|
|How to open a small bar (flowchart)||PDF 232.6 KB||Download|
|How to apply for a street or laneway event||PDF 123.2 KB||Download|
|Small bars DA assessment process||PDF 59.1 KB||Download|
|How to complete the DA form for a small bar||PDF 1.6 MB||Download|
|Application for development - food and drink premises||PDF 277.0 KB||Download|
|Food and drink premises DA fact sheet||PDF 153.9 KB||Download|
Last updated: Tuesday, 21 May 2013