SA Pubs: What the New Small Bar Laws Mean for you

 In Blog

The Australian Hotels Association (SA) is reportedly happy about new small bar legislation that was recently passed by South Australian parliament. While the new small bar legislation in Adelaide has been welcomed by the industry as a step in the right direction, there are concerns over tough new late night trading conditions which have been proposed for venues across the state.

The new small bar licences will be cheaper and the application process has been made more efficient for would-be operators.

The only restriction that the AHA is not too happy about is the 120-person capacity restriction which is higher than publicans would have liked.

Gaming will not be allowed by the new licences which at the moment are restricted to the Adelaide CBD.

Also all licences will allow small venues of 120 people or less to open from 11am to midnight, they can apply for an extension to 2am.

An article on explains more about the new legislation and the industry’s response to it:

AHA (SA) general manager Ian Horne told TheShout the new legislation was a “good outcome” even though his members believed the 120-capacity limit was a bit generous.

“We put a submission in to suggest that’s probably too large, but Parliament didn’t see it that way,” he said.

But Horne said SA pubs do not see the new operators as being a competitive threat.

“If these venues actually attract more people to the CBD, there’s a flow-on benefit for everyone who operates within the CBD,” he said.

“History would say that there’s some merit to having three pubs on a crossroads rather than just one.”

He said the new small bars can breathe some life into Adelaide’s small laneways and “unused hole-in-the-wall areas”.


While there are concerns about what industry insiders say are tough late night trading conditions for the most part members of the industry are happy about the new legislation and have welcomed it as a positive step for the industry.

According to bar owners some of the other mandates that the SA government are considering are unwarranted in many cases and do not take a venue’s history and good record into account. If these mandates were passed all venues would have 3am lockouts and have to use plastic instead of glassware after midnight.

Below is an excerpt from that gives us more insight into publican’s opinion of the new legislation:

Shaun Pattinson, owner of Cushdy, a leading Adelaide cocktail bar that has a 5am licence, told TheShout the new small bar licences are “long and overdue”.

“I know there’s been a lot of venues that have had to spend quite a bit of money just to get through the licensing stage,” he said.

But he remains concerned that the SA Government is still trying to push through its late night code, which mandates plastic glassware after midnight and 3am lockouts regardless of a venue’s incident record.

“It should be done more on merit and previous history rather than tarring everyone with the same brush,” he said.

“For cocktail bars that have never had any problem with incidents, having to serve a martini in a plastic glass is not reasonable.”


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