Types of licences

Alcohol licences


An on-licence lets your business sell or supply alcohol for customers to drink on the premises.

You need to apply for an on-licence if your business is a:

  • tavern, pub, bar or nightclub
  • restaurant, cafe or BYO restaurant
  • theatre or cinema
  • hotel
  • caterer
  • vehicle (for example, a train or ferry).


An off-licence lets your business sell, supply or deliver alcohol for customers to drink off your premises (including small free tastings).

You need an off-licence if your business is a:

  • bottle store
  • grocery store
  • supermarket
  • remote sales (for example, sales via a website).

Dairies, petrol stations and convenience stores cannot hold an off-licence.

Club licence

A club licence lets you sell or supply alcohol to drink at a club (such as a sports club or RSA) to:

  • club members
  • club member's guests
  • members of clubs with reciprocal visiting rights.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need more than one type of licence - for example, a hotel might require an on-licence and an off-licence.

Variation or cancellation of conditions of licence 

You need to apply for a variation if you want to change the conditions of your on-licence, off-licence or club licence such as:

  • the days or hours you're licensed to sell alcohol
  • the areas of your premises that are licensed
  • the type of premises you operate – for example, changing from a restaurant to a tavern
  • designated areas within your premises – for example, areas that are restricted (no one under 18 can enter) or areas that are supervised (under 18s must have a parent or guardian with them).

Managers certificates

Managers certificates

All duty managers employed to serve alcohol in a licensed premises must have a valid manager's certificate.

You'll need to provide the names of people you intend to use as duty managers (and copies of their manager's certificates if they weren't issued in Hamilton).

If your duty manager doesn't already have a manager's certificate, they can't apply for one until your alcohol licence application has been submitted. That’s because their manager's certificate must name the place they'll be working.

Applying for a manager's certificate takes at least 30 working days.

As licensee for the premises, you must notify the Committee and police of any changes to duty managers (including situations when you need to operate with a temporary manager). Click here for more details.

Other licences

Special licence

If you want to sell alcohol to the public at a one-off event or series of events, you need a special licence. The alcohol may be in the entry fee, ticket price, or sold over a bar.
Even if the event occurs on licensed premises, you might still need a special licence for this event as it may not be covered by your existing on-licence or club licence.

Events that may require a special licence include a:

  • sports event
  • concert, show or festival
  • street party
  • private function.

Temporary authority

If you're buying an established business that sells alcohol, you need temporary authority to continue selling alcohol while you apply for a new on-licence or off-licence.

This is valid for a maximum period of three months and will only be issued if the existing licence for the premises is still valid.​ 

Extract of record or register

You can apply for an extract of your record or register.



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Last updated 22 July 2022