It is a question facing many clubs as we approach the warmer months – how to derive the greatest benefit for the club and its members from an underused outdoor area?

It has been increasingly common to see clubs develop an unused outdoor area into an inviting, lively alfresco hospitality space. A common example is for a club to transform the spare bowling green or the old practice tee area into a dynamic outdoor offering, styled to attract families and a younger demographic.

What are some of the benefits of having an alfresco space?

Making better use of an existing outdoor area will increase the commercial footprint of the club’s premises. Developing an underutilised outdoor area can:

  • revitalise the club’s appeal by attracting a younger demographic through alternative offerings (for example, installing outdoor play equipment or providing an alternate food offering)
  • expand and diversify the club’s revenue streams by offering additional outdoor dining and hospitality options
  • provide a venue for live music to encourage ticket sales and club attendance, supporting the local music scene and in turn boosting the club’s community engagement

There are many additional benefits and options available to transform your club’s outdoor area.

Can the club sell and supply liquor outdoors? What are the legal requirements?

The first question to answer is does the outdoor area form part of a club’s current licensed boundary?

Section 18 of the Liquor Act provides that a club is entitled to sell liquor to members and guests from the “licensed premises” which is the area defined by the Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&G) approved licence plan for each club premises.

It is a common misconception that all of the land occupied by a club forms part of a club’s licensed premises. A club can only sell liquor in areas of the premises that have been authorised by L&G.

Accordingly, a club will have to assess its approved licensing plan to determine whether the outdoor area is currently within the licensed boundary in order to meet the requirement that liquor is sold and supplied only on the licensed premises.

If the outdoor area is not identified as forming part of the licensed premises, the club will need to make a change of boundary application to L&G to incorporate the outdoor area in the club’s authorised licensed boundary.

Changing a licensed boundary

There are a number of practical considerations and legal requirements to be met before a club can have L&G approval to amend a licenced boundary.

Amongst other things, the club will need to determine:

  • whether it has the local council’s consent to use the space as desired
  • the size of the increase to the total floor space of the licensed premises boundary
  • the increase to the total patron capacity
  • any additional licensing conditions or RSA measures to be implemented
  • whether the club will need to make additional applications, for example to authorise minors to access the alfresco area

The club will need to provide L&G with plans in the approved form to accompany any change of boundary application.

Prior to being assessed by L&G, all applications to amend a licensed boundary are placed on the L&G Noticeboard for a period of at least 30 days. During this time any person can make a submission in relation to the grant or otherwise of the application. Following the noticeboard period, a change of boundary application and any submissions received in relation to it are assessed and the outcome is advised.

We can help

We have assisted many clubs in NSW to amend and/or increase their licensed boundary to enable a club to sell and supply liquor in a new alfresco area.

We can assist with all of the legal requirements to licence a club’s outdoor space, from preparing the appropriate licensing plans and applications, to liaising with local police and L&G regarding any submissions received during the noticeboard period.

Further information and contact details

If you wish to discuss the contents of this newsletter or would like to discuss your club’s licensing options, please contact any member of the Clubs Team on (02) 8251 7777 or by email:

Bruce Gotterson: b.gotterson@pigott.com.au
Ray Travers: r.travers@pigott.com.au
Tony Johnston: t.johnston@pigott.com.au
John Ralston: j.ralston@pigott.com.au
Julian Hawkins: j.hawkins@pigott.com.au

This publication is produced by Pigott Stinson. It is intended to provide general information only. The contents of this publication do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought from us in respect of the matters set out in this publication. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.