Selling alcohol

When can you sell alcohol in Northern Ireland?

There are certain restrictions on when alcohol can be legally sold in Northern Ireland. The rules relate to times of the day and certain religious holidays.

Alcohol licensing hours

For most licensed premises, alcohol may be sold:

  • from 11:30 to 23:00 (except on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas day)
  • on Good Friday from 17:00 to 23:00
  • on Christmas Day and Sundays from 12:30 to 22:00

Off-licences may sell alcohol:

  • from 08:00 to 23:00 (except on Sundays, Christmas Day and Easter Day)
  • on Sundays from 10:00 to 22:00

Off-licences are not permitted to open at all on Christmas Day or Easter Sunday.

Extended hours

Businesses providing entertainment or refreshment, can apply for an order for additional permitted hours. Other premises can apply for an extension licence. This allows you to sell alcohol after the usual licensed hours. These additional and extended hours are:

  • 23:00 to 01:00 on weekdays
  • 22:00 to 12:00 on Sundays (If New Year’s Eve is on a Sunday, you may sell alcohol until 01:00)

Extended and additional hours don’t apply on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and Good Friday. Remember that because extensions don’t apply on Christmas Day, you must stop selling alcohol at midnight on Christmas Eve. This also applies to the day before Good Friday and day before Easter Sunday. See Northern Ireland Christmas licensing hours and Northern Ireland Easter licensing hours.


If your business provides accommodation, alcohol licensing hours do not apply when selling alcohol to overnight guests. For example, a licensed hotel, guesthouse or inn may sell alcohol to a resident at any time.