Selling alcohol

Businesses that can sell alcohol

In Northern Ireland, only certain premises are eligible to apply for a licence to sell alcohol. These are:

  • pubs
  • off-licences
  • hotels
  • guest houses
  • restaurants
  • conference centres certified by Tourism NI
  • higher education institutions
  • places of public entertainment (theatres, ballrooms, race tracks)
  • refreshment rooms in public transport premises (railway or bus stations, airports and harbours)
  • seamen’s canteens
  • indoor arenas
  • outdoor stadia
  • non-seagoing vessels

There are certain conditions for each type of business. For example, licensed restaurants may only sell alcoholic drinks alongside, or before or after a meal. Off-licences may not sell alcohol on Christmas day or Easter Sunday.

Businesses who are based at a road service area, garage or petrol station can’t apply to sell alcohol.

Occasional licence

You can apply for an occasional licence to sell alcohol away from your premises at special events. For example a local pub or restaurant may apply to sell alcohol at a food festival.