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Overview

You need a licence from your local county court to sell alcohol in Northern Ireland.

How to apply

You can apply for a licence at your county court. Before you apply you must:

  • publish a notice in at least 2 local newspapers of your intention to apply for a licence, at least 2 weeks before the court sitting
  • display a notice on or near your premises and notify the local police station and district council of your intention to apply for a licence, at least 3 weeks before the court sitting

These notices must contain a plan of your premises.

You will only be able to apply to the court for a licence for certain premises, including:

  • premises where alcohol will be sold and consumed eg pubs
  • premises where alcohol is sold for consumption off the premises
  • hotels
  • guest houses
  • restaurants
  • conference centres certified by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board
  • indoor arenas
  • higher education institutions
  • public entertainment premises
  • public transport premises
  • seamen’s canteens

You can’t apply for a licence if your premises are in a road service area, garage or petrol station.

Fines and penalties

You may be fined £5,000 or face up to 6 months in prison if you sell alcohol without a licence.

Machine Games Duty

You may have to pay Machine Games Duty on any gaming machines you have on your premises.