Liquor trading hours

All liquor licences in New South Wales have approved liquor trading hours – when licensees are permitted to sell liquor on their licensed premises or at a licensed function or event.

The approved liquor trading hours for most types of liquor licences include a standard trading period, plus any extended trading granted by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

However, the Authority may also grant different approved liquor trading hours that will be specified on the licence. For licensed functions and events, the approved liquor trading hours are separately determined by the Authority and are specified on a limited licence.

What is the standard trading period?

The standard trading period for most clubs, hotels, general bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, producer/wholesalers, theatres, cinemas, motels, sporting facilities, tourist venues, universities, colleges, airports, and licensed caterers is:

  • 5am – Midnight, Monday to Saturday
  • 10am – 10pm on Sunday

Different arrangements apply to registered clubs that existed prior to the commencement of the Liquor Act 2007 on 1 July 2008. These clubs have unrestricted trading rights and can trade up to 24 hours a day, unless they have otherwise opted to limit their approved liquor trading hours.

An 11pm restriction on takeaway liquor sales also applies across NSW. This means that the standard trading period for packaged liquor licences (such as bottle shops or takeaway liquor stores) is limited to 11pm Monday to Saturday. Sunday 10pm closures remain in place. Any other licensees authorised to sell takeaway liquor can only do so until 11pm – for example, producer/wholesalers may only sell their liquor products by retail to the public until this time.

The standard trading period for small bars is from midday to 2am, Monday to Sunday. 

Licensed vessels are different again, as they do not have a standard trading period. Rather, licensees can sell and supply liquor for consumption on board a vessel, from one hour before the vessel starts any voyage and until 30 minutes after the voyage has been completed.

What is extended trading?

In many cases, licensees can apply under the NSW liquor laws to sell and supply liquor outside the standard trading period. This is commonly referred to as extended trading.

Extended trading can occur either before or after the standard trading period, and can also apply on a permanent or one-off basis. Any extended trading granted is subject to a daily 6-hour closure period.

Applications for an extended trading authorisation can be made on the liquor licence forms and applications page.

The Authority or the Secretary of the Department of Justice may also reduce the approved trading hours by imposing, varying or revoking licence conditions relating to the trading hours of any licensed venue.

What is the daily 6-hour closure period?

A daily 6-hour closure period applies to all liquor licences granted from 30 October 2008. It also applies to existing licences that have been granted extended trading from that date and existing licences that are removed to other premises after that date.

For these liquor licences, it is against the law to sell or supply liquor for consumption on or off the premises during that period.

Generally, the daily 6-hour closure period is from 4am to 10am every day. However, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority can approve a different daily 6-hour closure period.

Licensees can apply to the Authority to change the daily 6-hour shutdown period on either a temporary or permanent basis, or for different closure periods to operate on different days of the week.

What are the liquor trading hours and conditions that apply over Easter, Christmas and New Year?

There are differences in the trading hours and conditions applying to liquor licences at certain times of the year, including Easter an Christmas/New Year.

The Easter and Christmas/New Year Trading Hours 2016 fact sheet (PDF, 157KB) identifies the relevant liquor trading hours and conditions over these periods during 2016.