Alcohol safety

Alcohol safety

Inside this section

Addressing anti-social behaviour

Reducing alcohol-related violence to keep our streets safe is an important aim of the City of Sydney.

The City works closely with the NSW Government and police on initiatives that target 'hot spots' in central Sydney.

We can also prohibit alcohol consumption in public places across the local area.

Liquor licence freeze

There is a freeze on liquor licences being issued in designated places in NSW.

The freeze is part of moves to improve public safety by bringing the number of people socialising in key zones back to a manageable level.

For more information about areas affected by the liquor licence freeze, refer to the Liquor & Gaming NSW website.

Environment and venue assessment tool

This assessment tool helps evaluate venue density issues in relation to liquor licence applications, which was developed by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

It was created as part of the research into the impact of licensed premises across the state and is set to be trialled by Liquor & Gaming NSW in the local area from early 2013.

If you are considering opening a licensed venue anywhere in the local area, you should contact Liquor & Gaming NSW before submitting your development application.

The City will be helping with the trial but is not responsible for implementing EVAT or other decisions relating to liquor licence applications.

Small bars

The liquor licence freeze does not apply to small bars in any of the restricted precincts.

A small bar is defined as having a capacity of 100 people or fewer, with no gaming machines or takeaway sales. Also, it must not be a public entertainment venue or trade after 2am. Therefore, it may be possible to open a new small venue in the freeze precincts, subject to planning and licensing legislation.

If your existing venue meets the criteria for a small bar, you may make an application for an increase in trading, such as extended trading hours or a primary service authorisation – permission to serve alcohol without food.

Go to links to download the liquor licence freeze provisions from the NSW Legislation website.

DA freeze

A freeze on development approvals to increase capacity or hours of operation is in place until the end of the liquor licence freeze in each area. This includes DAs for new and existing venues.

There is no right of appeal to the Land and Environment Court for a deemed refusal for these types of applications during the licence freeze period. These provisions do not apply to small venues.

If you are considering opening a licensed venue in the local area, you should contact a City planner for a free DA consultation at your nearest customer service centre before submitting your DA.

You can find more information in the development application guide and controls and conditions.


NSW Legislation

CBD entertainment precinct

Liquor accords

Liquor accords are voluntary partnerships between the liquor industry, local and state governments and the police.

Membership is open to owners of licensed premises.

Liquor accords aim to:

  • improve the operation of licensed premises
  • promote responsible service and consumption of alcohol
  • prevent or reduce alcohol-related harm.

The City supports the accords that are overseen by Liquor & Gaming NSW as part of a widespread approach to reducing alcohol-related harm and anti-social behaviour.

There are 7 liquor accords in designated precincts to help develop local responses to specific issues:

  • City central
  • City north
  • City south
  • Darling Harbour
  • Kings Cross
  • Newtown
  • Surry Hills

You can get in touch with your local accord.

Last updated: Monday, 23 September 2019