Starting up a new bar or taking over a pub can be an exciting yet complex journey.

Before you can pop open your first bottle for a patron, there are a range of legal obligations you need to fulfil. Thankfully we have broken down each legal document you need and how to acquire it, allowing you to get your bar certified and opened as quick as possible.

When starting any business, it’s always advisable to consult a business lawyer to ensure that you have met all your legal requirements and protect your bar.

The Essential Legals Every Bar Needs

1. A Business Structure

Depending on what type of business entity you find preferable, certain legal requirements need to be fulfilled:

  • If you are a sole trader or partnership and you are expecting to turnover more than $75 000 per annum, you will need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and apply for the Goods & Services Tax (GST);
  • If you are looking to start a company, you will need to complete a company registration; and
  • If you are starting either a company, partnership or a trust, you will need to register for a tax file number (TFN).

Luckily, LawPath can provide an easy solution for your bar to acquire an ABN through our convenient ABN registration service allowing you to open the doors to your bar as soon as possible. Alternatively if you were looking at incorporating your bar, we also provide a service to assist with company registration.

2. Employment Contracts

Before hiring new bar staff, it is important to have the right documentation in place, particularly casual employment contracts. According to a study conducted by the Australian Government, the hospitality industry is leading with the highest percentage of casual employees, as well as range of benefits such as:

  • The ability to work more hours and work on weekends;
  • Flexibility of shifts;
  • No guaranteed set amount of hours; and
  • No annual or sick leave.

For the right employment agreements for your business, LawPath provides a range of employment contracts for casual, part time and full time employees.

3. Liquor licence

To legally serve alcohol on your premises, your bar will need to have a liquor licence. Licences, legal obligations and prices vary across each state and territory, it is highly advisable to review your state or territory’s liquor authority for the specific requirements for your bar.

Most states offer an online liquor licence application service. For some applications you will need to submit a community impact statement (CIS) detailing how obtaining a liquor license for your venue might impact your community.

4. Things to finalise before you start to trade

Before you open the doors there are some other regulations you will need to satisfy:

  • Have your premises meet all legal standards and approved by your local council;
  • Apply for a licence through APRA if you are seeking to play prerecorded music or have live music performed;
  • Apply for a food safety supervisor certificate;
  • Apply to be able to serve customers on public land, for example if your bar extends to the sidewalk;
  • Ensure you and your staff have completed your state’s respective responsible service of alcohol training; and
  • Order official government signage to display in your bar.

5. Additional certifications

Depending on what you are after, you might be interested in acquiring a few extra benefits for your bar, including registering for an Australian domain using your ABN, getting liability insurance or applying for a trademark through LawPath.

As it can be quite overwhelming and time consuming with all the certifications you need to acquire and legal requirements you need to meet, it is always a good idea to consult with a business lawyer to help you with every step of the way.

Any questions relating to opening your own bar? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers or to get answers to your legal questions.

Logan Tennyson

Logan is a Paralegal working in our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With a passion for commercial and media law, his research explores how the law is adapting to emerging technologies and how this affects consumers and businesses alike.