Free Drinking Water at Licensed Premises

The Liquor Regulation 2002 requires all licensees and approved managers to ensure that cold drinking water is personally served to patrons by a staff member, if the patron requests water at the bar (or wherever liquor is sold in the venue). Some licensees are required to ensure that drinking water is served free-of-charge; others must ensure drinking water is served either free-of-charge or at reasonable cost.

Who must serve free drinking water?

The following licensees must ensure that free cold drinking water is personally served by a staff member when requested by a patron at the bar during all hours that liquor is sold for on-premises consumption:

  • holders of commercial hotel licence
  • holders of community club licence
  • the four casinos
  • holders of (commercial other) bar licence
  • any licensee holding a commercial public event permit
  • any other licensee who, on any night of the week, has approved trading hours after midnight

Licensees in the last category above (those who trade beyond midnight on any night of the week) must ensure free cold drinking water is served to patrons on request during all times that liquor is sold for on-premises consumption – that is, on every day or night of the week, regardless of whether it is the day (or days) on which the premises has approval to trade after midnight.

The obligation to serve free cold drinking water under the Liquor Regulation does not prevent the licensees identified above from selling bottled water to patrons, but it does require them to ensure that a cold alternative is served free- of-charge if requested by the patron.

Licensees who do not fall into any of the categories identified above are still obligated to serve cold drinking water to patrons but may charge a reasonable cost for the water.

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