Big News for Small Bars

                                                            Monday, 12 November 2018

Inner West Council is excited to announce new changes that make it easier to open a small bar in Leichhardt, Annandale, Rozelle, Lilyfield, Balmain and Birchgrove.

The former Leichhardt Council resolved to initiate legislative changes to cut red tape for café and restaurant owners wanting to convert to a small bar.

After lengthy negotiations, the State Government has today gazetted the legislative changes. Proprietors in the former Leichhardt council area can now use a much simpler Complying Development pathway. This is a 10-day approval process from Council or a private certifier, rather than a lengthy DA.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said it was a win for common sense and a shot in the arm for the night-time economy.

“I first pushed for this amendment three years ago as Mayor of Leichhardt and I commend the State Government for finally acting and making it easier for local businesses to operate and grow.

“Small bars can help to bring our streets alive at night and boost our local economy," he said.

“Small bars typically attract patrons who are interested in a smaller, more intimate setting and often are visited as part of a journey - like visiting a small bar, cinema and restaurant in the same night.

“By promoting small bars in existing shopping corridors like Darling Street, Booth Street, Norton Street and Parramatta Road, we can create a precinct destination rather than a single venue like a large pub or club.

“As more small bars open, we will see a boost to tourism and spending in our local economy as well as more opportunities for local live music, arts and culture.

“I will certainly be proposing that Council extend this provision to all businesses in the Inner West Council area as part of the new Local Environment Plan [LEP],” he said.

The changes to the Leichhardt LEP mean that restaurants or café business owners who wanted to change to a small bar no longer need to lodge both a Development Application to Council and a separate application to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA).

Small bars in recognised shopping streets are also exempt from car parking provisions.

Businesses now need to simply get a ‘small bar liquor licence’ from ILGA and make sure that they do not change any of their operating conditions like opening hours or plans of management.

Council can offer advice to businesses wanting to use the new clause. Businesses are advised to use the pre-Complying Development Certificate service before they lodge to make sure that they have their application right. Further information is at

The Small Bars LEP Amendment currently only applies to land zoned “B2” under the Leichhardt LEP 2013 – which is most of the shopping strips – for businesses with existing development consent for a restaurant or café.

For further information please contact John Roper on 0435 963 787 or

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Page last updated: 12 Nov 2018