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How to Open Your Own Bar or Nightclub

How to Open Your Own Bar or Nightclub

Ever thought about opening your own bar or nightclub? Read this article to find out what you need to do to make it happen.

23rd October 2018

It is a known fact that Australians love to party. Perhaps it has always been your dream to open up your own bar or club and add to the party scene. Opening up your own business may not be as easy as you think. There are plenty of bars and clubs in Australia, particularly in the major cities. What is going to set yours apart from the rest? Find out below.

Business Plan

As with any successful business, a well thought out business plan is essential. You should write down aims of the business, what kind of establishment you are opening, and what vibe you are trying to create. A major goal should be to build something new and unique; this is what will make your business stand out.

Research spaces that are suited to you. Generally, successful bars and clubs are in highly populated areas and around the CBD, but don’t count out more residential areas either; people are always looking for a good time! Decide what kind of amenities you are going to provide. Will your bar be toned down and relaxed? Or will it be extravagant and loud, with a dancefloor? Ensure you have enough space for seats, counters, dancing, and bathrooms. You may even consider an outdoor portion of your bar.

Think about the hours of trade as well. Nightclubs and bars typically open anywhere between 6pm-4am, and some only open on the weekend. Many bars turn into pubs or cafes during the day or on weekdays. If you only intend to open in the night or on weekends, perhaps consider renting out your space to another business outside of your trading hours to pull in some extra income.


To open a bar or club, you will most likely register your business as a sole trader. You will then be required to obtain an ABN and create a business name to operate under.


You will require a Liquor Licence to serve alcohol at your establishment. This helpful tool will help you determine which type of liquor licence you need for NSW. Maintaining a liquor licence comes with a range of requirements such as annual fees and special conditions. You will need to identify which laws apply to you according to your state.

There are several Food and Beverage requirements that you need to adhere to. You can find an outline of these requirements here. You also need to notify your local council to obtain a business licence. Tying into council requirements, each council has their own laws in regards to the operation of bars and clubs. The Sydney CBD is a great example of this with the implementation of ‘lockout laws’. As of 2014, a 1:30pm lockout was applied for licensed premises in the CBD and no alcohol is to be served after 3am. Although these laws are not applied nationally, you should familiarise yourself with your local laws.

You will also require a licence to play music at your bar or club. The type of licence you need will depend on what type of music you intend to play (live, DJ, CD’s etc).


Hiring employees is essential for this type of business. You will probably need bartenders, stock managers, a floor manager, and possibly a DJ. If you intend to serve food you will also need chefs and waiters and waitresses. Bars and clubs also require security. LawPath has a range of employee agreement templates which will take the hassle out of employment.


Opening up a business in such a highly competitive industry can be daunting. But with the right planning and innovative ideas, your new bar or club can thrive! Although businesses like these have more requirements and licences than others, compliance is relatively easy. If you are still unsure, or need personalised guidance, contact a business lawyer.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800529728 to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace or to get answers to your legal questions.

Akira Singh

Akira is a legal intern at Lawpath working in the content team. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University.