Sale of liquor without meals in restaurants Primary Service Authorisation

16 October 2012


Under the new Liquor Act if the operator of a restaurant the subject of a liquor licence wishes to sell liquor without a meal, then a Primary Service Authorisation (PSA) is required to be endorsed on the licence. Under the former Liquor Act the relevant endorsement was known as a dine-or-drink authority which was considerably more restrictive.

In respect of a PSA:-

1. The numbers of drinkers are no longer restricted to 30% of the dining seats.

2. Practices such as token systems no longer need to be in place to differentiate between drinkers and diners.

Further, under the new Liquor Act reception areas have been abolished and all patrons can now be served liquor over the bar whether or not a PSA is in place. However, if a PSA is granted it is a requirement that the primary purpose of the business must be at all times that of a restaurant preparing and serving genuine meals to the public.

A meal is defined as a genuine meal consumed by a patron at a dining table.

Our firm has already represented licensees of restaurants where the Police or Special Inspectors have commenced or threatened to commence proceedings on the basis that the primary purpose of the restaurant was the sale and supply of liquor rather than that of a restaurant preparing and serving of meals.

We have also acted for numerous applicants for PSA's under the new Liquor Act.

Should you be interested in applying for such an authorisation for your restaurant, or should the Police or Special Inspectors have threatened or issued any enforcement action on the basis that your primary purpose is not that of a restaurant, please contact us to discuss all the same - We can help!