Guide

Weights and measures

Weights and measures rules for pubs, restaurants and cafes

You must only sell alcoholic drinks in specified amounts. These are:

  • Pints, half pints (or half pint multiples), the rarely used third of a pint and the new two thirds of a pint (called a schooner) for draught beer, lager and cider
  • Multiples of 25 millilitres or 35 millilitres for gin, rum, whisky and vodka except when they're served as part of a cocktail. You must display a notice stating which measure your serve. 
  • 125 millilitres or 175 millilitres for glasses of wine. You do not need to stick to a specified quantity for servings below 75 millilitres. This allows wine samples or ‘tasters’ to be sold. 
  • 250 millilitres for carafes of wine. 

You must use officially stamped measures, metering equipment or glasses. For example, beer can be served using metered pumps or in stamped glasses.

You must make the prices of food and drink clear to intending customers. The easiest way is by clearly displaying a price list. Bars should show the price list at the bar where orders are taken. Restaurants and cafes should show it at the entrance or in the window.

Your prices must include VAT. It must also be made clear if you have a compulsory service charge, a cover charge or a minimum charge.

Certain rules relating to the display of prices in pubs and restaurants were replaced on 26 May 2008 by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The new regulations made it a general requirement not to omit information which the average consumer needs to take an informed decision regarding a purchase.

Northern Ireland trading standards officers can advise you. They also make occasional checks to make sure you're following the rules. If you break the rules you could face a large fine.