Small Bar Trend About To Explode On The Gold Coast | Stone Group Lawyers

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Small Bar Trend About to Explode on the Gold Coast

If you’re a Gold Coast local that has dreamed of opening your own small bar, but have been scared off by the expensive and confusing application process, you may now be in luck!

Yes, that dream to open a French wine bar in Broadbeach may be closer than you think. We can picture it now – a place where people can hang out and enjoy a good glass of wine, with or without food, while absorbing the French music playing in the background and the candlelight ambiance.

Amendments to the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) in 2009 introduced bar licences (as opposed to club or restaurant licences) allowing the “sale of liquor on the licenced premises having the capacity to seat not more than 60 patrons at any one time”. Bar licences are available to businesses whose principal activity is the “sale of liquor on the licensed premises”, removing the requirement for food sales to exceed drink sales. These amendments meant that venues could now open for the sole or principal reason of selling alcohol, and that the service of food (if any) would be to compliment the alcohol.

The phenomenon of small bars has taken off around the country (in Melbourne small bars have been a thing since 1989), and yet, the trend is only just emerging on the Gold Coast. In fact, it has taken years of lobbying the Gold Coast City Council to approve SOHO Place, a new small bar set to open in Broadbeach in June with a unique twist – BYO food.

So why, if the bar licence was introduced in 2009, are we only just granting the first bar licences on the Gold Coast now – 8 years later? It all comes down to the Gold Coast City Plan which was last updated in 2002, at which time the concept of a bar licence had not been contemplated. This has prevented many potential small bar licences from being granted. Fortunately, amendments to the Gold Coast City Plan approved in 2016 have made the application for a bar licence easier. In fact, we anticipate that small bars will be popping up all over town from now on, each carefully designed and intimate.

At Stone Group Lawyers, we regularly advise on liquor and gaming licences, applications for responsible persons, compliance with legislative requirements, acquisitions and disposals of licensed premises, review of supply contract, and leasing and specific provisions for licensed premises.

We can assist you in completing the relevant forms, obtaining the required plans and approvals, and negotiating with the Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation on your behalf. Even though it is now possible to get a bar licence, it can be a slow and frustrating process, which is why engaging an experienced and professional lawyer is vital to a successful application.

We are pleased to offer all clients looking to open a small bar a complimentary 45 minute initial consultation. If you want to be ahead of the crowds, give Stone Group Lawyers a call on (07) 5635 0180 for further information or assistance to apply.

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