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Types of liquor licenses

The following list is only a small selection of licence types. For a full list, visit the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR)  

General licence

A general licence permits the licensee to supply alcohol to consumers both for drinking on the premises and for take away purposes. This licence would apply to pubs, hotels and taverns.

On-premises licence

An on-premises licence permits the licensee to supply alcohol to patrons on the premises in restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs.

Restaurant and café licence

A restaurant and café licence permits the licensee to supply alcohol to customers, but there are restrictions and limitations in place that do not apply to the on-premises licence.

The restaurant and café licence applies when the predominant activity at all times is the preparation and serving of meals for consumption on the premises. Tables and chairs for at least 75 per cent of clients must be available at any one time.

If this is not the predominant activity of the business, then an on-premises licence is probably required – or one of the other types of licences available. Check with the VCGLR. For example, if you plan to operate your café serving food between 11am and 8pm but after 8pm offer a service closer to that of a bar, then you will not qualify for the restaurant and café licence.

An additional restriction on this type of licence is that live or recorded music must not be above background level at any time outside ordinary trading hours.

The Director of Liquor Licensing may authorise that a restaurant and café licence can trade outside ordinary trading hours and past 1am. In this case, the licence is excluded from the late night licence category.

Late night licence

Generally, a late night licence refers to permission to trade beyond 1am. This new late night licence groups together those trading during high risk hours. It applies to any general, on-premises or packaged liquor licence that can operate after 1am.

Note: Since 2010, general, on-premises and packaged liquor licence holders had to apply for either a late night (general), late night (on-premises or late night (packaged liquor) licence. The new category ensures better regulation and monitoring of high risk venues.

The Victorian Government has put a freeze on issuing late night liquor licences (to trade beyond 1am) in the City of Melbourne until 30 June 2013. This means that no new late night licences in the general and on-premises categories will be issued unless the applicant can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, until after that date. Licences in the restaurant and cafe category mentioned above are exempt from this.  

BYO permit

A BYO (bring your own) permit authorises the consumption, possession and control of liquor in a restaurant, café or club that does not hold a liquor licence.

For complete requirements relating to all licence types visit the VCGLR.

People sitting outside a cafe