Different liquor license types? Which one should I apply for.

Liquor licenses types, to know what type will work for you, you first need to know the difference between the type liquor licenses. Then choose the one that will suite your need the best.

Liquor license types are grouped in four categories:

  1. On – Consumption
    • Accommodation Liquor License
    • Restaurant Liquor License
    • Nightclub
    • Club
    • Gaming premises
    • Sports Ground
    • Pub
    • Tavern
    • Theatre
  2. Off – Consumption
    • Liquor Store
    • Grocer’s wine
  3. Micro Manufacture
  4. Special Events

The first license category we look at is on-consumption types, these liquor license types have the most variation. A common requirement for all on-consumption license types, are toilet facilities for ladies and gents. The main difference between the on-consumption liquor license types, lies within the facilities you have available. Then other differences are trading hours and yearly renewal fees.

Accommodation liquor license

This type of license is when your main source of income will arise from customers paying to sleep over. These facilities are known as, Bed and Breakfast, Hotel, Lodge and Motel.

This liquor license type has a yearly license renewal fee of R 2 400.00 and trading hours are limited to, every day from 10h00 – 02h00.

Accommodation facilities must include: a kitchen, rooms for overnight stay and a dining room or Lounge.

Restaurant Liquor License

In the case of a restaurant license, the most important condition to which a restaurant license must comply, is that the main source of income is from the sale of food.

For a restaurant license the yearly liquor license renewal fee is R 2 400.00 and trading hours are limited to, every day from 10h00 – 02h00.

Other restaurant license condition includes the requirement of a fully functional kitchen and a food menu available at all times. Businesses with restaurant licenses are not allowed to play loud music.


Nightclubs run later than other outlets and therefore a nightclub license enjoys extended trading hours. Nightclubs may sell alcoholic beverages, on a Nightclub license, until 04:00.

A nightclub is clearly different from the other liquor outlet types, as it is fitted with a stage for live music and one or two dance floors. Keeping that in mind, a nightclub license will only be granted in a situation where the primary income is generated from entertainment.

The yearly license renewal fee is R 4 800.00. A business with a nightclub license is allowed to trade daily between 10h00 – 04h00.

A nightclub license does allow loud music. There are limits imposed by law, directly by the local municipality. On average the limit is set to around 95db. A nightclub’s music may never cause a disturbance to nearby premises.


A pub licensed business is an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic drinks. A pub offers a relaxed environment, fitted for social drinking and conversation. A pub license requires the business to generate an income primarily from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

The yearly license renewal fee, for a business licensed with a pub license, is R 4 800.00 and allowed trading hours is daily from 10h00 – 02h00.


A tavern is a business place that provides patrons with alcoholic beverages and food. In this case the legal condition that allows approval of the liquor license requires the main source of income to arise from the sale of alcohol.

To renew a tavern license cost R 1 000.00 per year and trading hours allowed is daily from 10h00 – 24h00.

Bottle store (Off-Consumption)

A bottle store is defined, as a shop that sells a big variety of alcoholic drinks. The sold product may not be consumed on the licensed premises and must leave the business sealed. This also applies to grocer’s wine licenses.

Bottle stores and grocers have the same trading hours, they are as follows:

  • Monday – Friday 08h00 – 20h00
  • Saturday 08h00 – 17h00
  • Sunday 10h00 – 15h30

The yearly license renewal fee is R 4 800.00 for a Liquor Store and R 2 400.00 for a Grocer’s wine license. A grocer’s wine license, allow you to sell only wine from within a Grocer/Supermarket.


In conclusion, the differences in license types applies to, trading hours and the yearly renewal fees. Another important point is that your premises must be suitable, for the type of license you apply for. Feel free to contact us with your questions or for a free quote. It is as easy as clicking here.


  1. It’s surprising to learn that there are so many liquor licenses that can be applied for when starting a business from a restaurant to a bottle store liquor license as your article mentioned. Additionally, there are these yearly renewal fees and trading hours they have to worry about too. Lucky for me I am part of the consumers as I wouldn’t need to face these rules. All I have to know is that I’m way over the legal age already. Thanks!

      1. Kindly advise ,what steps should i take to apply for Tavern license im in KZN at Jozini i have land and business plan.

          1. If I open a restaurant i a place where there is petrol station can i apply for a liquor licence to seve glass wine and beer cans? And how long does it take for a first time application?

  2. It was interesting how you differentiated the different businesses that require liquor licensing, but what got me the most was the pub. You said that it is a place where people can drink and have a conversation and that its pub license requires the business to generate income primarily from selling liquor. I know that my friend is planning to start a business like this in the future, so I feel like I need to share this with him. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You may only sell to a licensed person in other words you can sell to licensed Bars or bottle stores or to distributors. If you want to sell to the public you will need a 2nd liquor license.

  3. My client wants to open a business where he has wine- and gin-tastings. He wants to sell the wine and gin that was tasted but also wants a restaurant on the same premises. Does he have to have three different licenses for the premises?

    1. Good Morning
      Depending on if the wine and Gin is for take away or to enjoy on site.
      You can not have an on consumption & off consumption license on the same premise
      Does he want to manufacture the gin and wine himself?
      I will reply in full once you answer above.

  4. We are the manager of a Bowling club we got a liquor lisence that cost us R6000 we stille need a music lisence or is that included in the liquor lisence

  5. Hi, i need advise ..

    I want to open a mobile bar business in Bloemfontein. I will have a primes like storage unit where i store the alcohol. Only way for you to order is via the app or website. I then deliver straight to your door.

    Which license do i need for this?

    1. In KZN the issue of Mobile bars and online selling the is in process.
      I am not aware if it is possible to have a mobile bar in Free Sate

      1. Hi Renier,

        is there any update on the situation in KZN?

        i am trying to find out the requirements to open an online liquor store, but cant find anything , not even an article.

        Please can you advise where i can get info on the situation?

  6. Hi, Thanks for the informative article. I’m interested in starting my own wine brand (without manufacturing it myself). Am I correct in assuming I would need a micro liquor licence? And if I were to have tastings would I need a separate licence for that as well?

    1. Morning
      If you do not manufacturing then you will not need Micro license depending to whom you want to sell to will determine what type of license you will require.

  7. i have a small shop in the rural community. the shop i have is currently registered on pty (ltd) and with the local municipality. the community members are begging me to start selling alcohol. what advise can you give me with regards to the location and so on… thank you

    1. Hi
      Distance to School, Church & other liquor store are important. Tavern you need toilets
      I will email you full detail and costs involved

      1. Hi iam in kzn vryheid i want to apply fo liquor licence how much does it cost and where can i get it because ian in rural area we dont have physical adress thank u

  8. Hi.could you kindly help me.i have a friend who he has a liquor license now he wants to sell it to me.so I would like to know if buying a liquor liquor license is good what are the advantages and disadvantages.?plz help u can imail the reply kdladla15215@gmail.com

    1. Good day
      If you are going to use the same premise relating the license it has the advantage that you can start trading sooner but you have to pay your friend for it and for the application to be transfered
      However if you want to use the license elsewhere you will be wasting your time and money because you must first transfer the license to your name which can take 4 to 6 months and then move it to the new premise which takes another 6 to 8 months on top off this you now have double application fees
      It is much cheaper to apply for new license. you do not have to pay for the license and 2 applications depending how much you mutch you must pay for the license it can cost you up to 50k more

  9. hi Im in eastern cape, need to do B&B and pool table club in the same premises, do i need two licenses and how much is those licenses, where must I go?

      1. Hi , so just to confirm if I have a pub and grill / restaurant that also has a pool table I would only need one liquor license? There is no separate license I would need because of the pool table?

  10. Good day

    Which licence is best for a Shisa-nyama and selling some alcohol at times in a semi-rural area. Main income will be from shisa-nyama. Also the cost of the licence?.
    Thank you in advance

  11. Hi, i need advise ..

    I want to open a mobile bar business in Howick (KZN). I will have a primes like storage unit where i store the alcohol. Only way for you to order. I then deliver straight to your door.

    Which license do i need for this?

    How much is the whole process?

    Will you be able to do the license or you just assisting?

    kindly reply on my email on 21803320@.stu.ukzn.ac.za

  12. Hi whats the price of a tavern license in(Howick-Lidgetton) kzn, by doing this license will the truck deliver(Alcohol) to me, and how do i apply for it ?

  13. Hi Renier, thanks for an informative article. I want to open a Pub in rural North West town next to a highway. I want it to have a the same mood of a Pub as described above, and in addition with a dance floor and a DJ with a set up similar to that of a nightclub at night. I also want to sell food and have a optional self service braai area as well as a car wash. What type of license will be more suitable for this business.

  14. I run a Tuckshop in a rural area (area under Inkosi) in Durban_South, the residents are encouraging me to sell Liqour. Schools, Churches and licensed liquor outlets are located more than a kilometer from my premises. What advice can you give me. eg. Required docs and quotation for an application for Liqour license for a tavern

  15. My brother is opening up a restaurant soon and he wants to be able to serve alcohol, so he needs to get a liquor license. I had no idea that there are so many different types of licenses and you make a great point that if my brother gets a restaurant license, the main source of his income for the restaurant must come from food and he must have a full food menu available at all times for customers. This would probably be the best license for my brother because he focuses on food and just wants to have alcohol available for customers to order with their food.

  16. hi run a Tuckshop I have some customers are asking me to sell alcohol, I am thinking to apply for Tarven licence can you please help me what to do or is any licence best for me

    1. hi run a Tuck shop in my neighborhood. I have some customers are asking me to sell alcohol but I want to sell only beers.can you please help me what to do or any licence best for me.

  17. Hello .
    my name is zanele. I’m looking on building a Lounge where ppl can chill and relax and have food and drinks. And its in the rural area but its been recently developed with flats, library, staduim etc. .. and my family have a piece of land next to the new flats . Its a very residential area with great potential and ppl need that type of a place in that area. What kind of the licence should I get? Pls email me ASAP
    Thank you

      1. Hi can you also email the details of how i can run a store like this at home… Just to sell beers ciders cooldrinks… Want people to buy and go. Please assist… Thank you.

  18. Hello I wanna start shisanyama and sell a lite alcoholic drinks, but Im near the schools, is it possible to get a licence operate only at night? Please email me

    Thank you

  19. hi my name is sphephile i jst wanna open a bottle store i wat know da rules must i follow and price of liquor license im in kzn at kwadukuza

  20. Hi. We have a club license for our premises (club in the EC). If we want to get an outside company (with a license) to run a bar for a special event, do they just apply for a special events license on their own, or do we have to give permission for it? Do we have to do anything special? What liability do we have if they commit an offence?

  21. Hi Renier, It’s Patrick here thanks for an informative article. I want to open a Pub in Durham cbd next to Mini town. I want it to have a the same mood of a Pub as described above, and in addition with a dance floor and a DJ with a set up similar to that of a nightclub at night. I also want to sell food and have a optional self service braai area as well. What type of license will be more suitable for this business. My email address is hlalukanalp@gmail.com

      1. Renier assist me I have spotted a place where I can open a bottle store and make a serious money but I dont know whr to begin please help me I need a licence for a bottle store in mpumalanga

  22. Hi im trying to apply tarven permit in my village , they saying they cant offer more permits for lounge not a tavern so i wanna know the different between the 2! Send me the different on this email thobelaeussie@gmail.com and how much the licences cost?

  23. Hi, I am interested in getting information on the following: (in KZN – area Ulundi)

    1) Tavern: where people/ the public can buy and consume alcohol in my tavern – which license do i need in order to do that legally.

    2) Which license do i need in order to be able to sell alcohol to the public even from my own personal home legally??

  24. Hi, I would like to rent a pub and grill. I believe the liquor license takes the floor plan into account. If I want to renovate the property inside and brake down a wall or two etc. Would I need to get this passed through the liquor board?

  25. Another question , if I want to have the license transferred onto my name how much would this cost? I will still trade from the same premises which has the license .

    1. Good day
      Sorry for late reply I was not available for some time
      When the transfer application is done we will change floor plan
      Please see email I sent you

  26. Hallo Renier. Ek het ‘n pizza plek oorgeneem en die naam verander. Die plek het ‘n drank lisensie maar die eienaar van die lisensie dring daarop aan dat ek ‘n vriend van hom gebruik om die “transfer” te doen, hy weier ook om my as bestuurder aan te stel tot die lisensie oorgedra is tensy ek sy vriend gebruik nie. Wat is die prosedure om self aansoek te doen en wat kos dit asb. Dit klink of dit dieselfde tydperk gaan neem alhoewel ‘n “transfer” beteken dat jy onmiddelik kan voortgaan. Wat kos ‘n transfer ? Cobus

    1. Hello Cobus
      Ek was nie beskikbaar vir 2 weke nie jammer ek kom nou eers terug na jou
      Het jy n kontrak waar jy die plek gekoop het wat se dit sluit die drank lesensie in? Hy moet oorplasing aansoek teken of n POWER OF ATTORNEY.
      Sodra die aansoek in is kan jy trade sonder bestuurs pos
      Stuur vir my die lesensie nommer en ek kan kyk of lesenie geldig is en hoeveel tyd ons het.
      Ek stel voor jy kyk wat die ooreenkoms se aangaande die oorplasing van lesensie en jy kan ook die koop kanseleer as hy nie toeseming gee tot oorplasing nie.
      Skakel my by 076 138 7988

  27. Hi I have a Liquor Store Licence and I want to know what can I sell other than liquor in my shop and is it against the liquor act to display empty liquor tins and caps

    1. Good day
      You can sell related products such as soft drinks, smokes, snacks and so on Patrons not allowed to drink inside your store
      Yes you can display inside your store what ever you want

      1. Hi renier i just want to know i have sweets,biltong,jams,chilliesauce,cooler boxes,braai utencils,pies and ice cream in my liquor shop. The police gave me a ticket under the act 158 (d)
        What of the things i mentioned for you is not to be sold in my liquor shop. Thanks Alta

  28. We have a Tavern and work under the Sports Club liquor license, however they are charging us the earth for alcohol but have a friend that has a bottle store and he said we are more than welcome to use his liquor license, what extra clause or additional license should he apply for

    1. You have left it to late to apply
      Application must go to Municipality for 30 days after you advertised and the go to liquor Authorities and must be lodged at least 30 days before the event.

  29. Hi Renier, I would like to start a restaurant/shisa nyama business in lower south coast of Kzn. I don’t have permanent premises yet. My plan is to run it from a marquee tent until I have permanent setup. I have permanent ablution facilities on the site. First question is it possible to apply for liquor license for such setup. If so, what time of liquor should I apply for. Thanks

    1. Hi Renier, I have a “Special liquor license for consumption on and off the premises” . What does it differ or in title me that a “Liquor license for consumption on and off the premises” does not? Pls email me back

  30. Hi! Renier,I want to open a pub but the place is not mine, I’m renting it in jhb but my future plan is to move it to klerksdorp where I have a stand still being developed.is that possible to run both places under one license.And how much it will cost me to apply for pub license.Kindly send me the required information at Katlegokaytee74@gmail.com,
    Thanks in advance

  31. Hi, please advise me on which type of license would I need to to sell alcohol at certain events. Take my mobile caraven to the event and sell alcohol at the event.

  32. Hi I was owning a restaurant in Isando and it has shut down due to financial reasons now i have acquired new premises in soweto can i transfer my license and still continue with normal business

  33. Hi Renier, I would like to open a small lodge with 3 to 4 overnight rooms. Mainly a fishing spot at our private home. What kind of license do I need and would you recommend and how do I apply online or do you assist with the license procedure

    1. Hi Mandie
      You will need an Accommodation liquor license
      I will forward you an email with all the relevant detail
      We do the complete application on your behalf but see the email for required documents you must supply

      1. Hi Renie
        I have a distillery making Gin for me… I will be selling to consumers for now but hope to sell to licence establishments as well in the future.
        What kind of licence do I need?

  34. Hi Renie
    I have a distillery making Gin for me… I will be selling to consumers for now but hope to sell to licence establishments as well in the future.
    What kind of licence do I need?

  35. Hi

    I would like to start a mobile business where I will sell food and drinks during music or sports events through out the country. What type of license would I need and how do I go about to apply for this….

  36. Hello,

    Please may I ask if you need a licence to deliver alcohol? As in, we don’t make a profit on the product, we just charge a delivery fee?

    Many thanks,

  37. I am interested in opening a Sport Bar but I am not sure what is a different between it and other and what is sold the Sport Bar as well operating hours

  38. what do you sell in a Sport Bar, do you sell everything like beer cases, bottles etc.?
    can you combine a Sport Bar and Restaurant in one license?
    what are the operating hours for the Sport Bar?

  39. To whom it may concern

    I live in KZN, Durban North. I would like to open a CAR WASH/TAVERN, please advise the process to apply for a liquor license. Is there a yearly fee as well as a monthly fee, and what are the requirements.
    kind regards

  40. Hi Renier I would like to start a pub and grill ,at a rural area next to the road with a pool table area and a car wash….kindly assist me with the steps to follow and the license to apply for. Thanks!

  41. Good day, i want to start a mobile bar, that goes to functions like wedding and so that doesn’t have services of a bar. And also start delivery services. What would the license requirements be.

  42. Good Day
    I want to open an online store using an app and delivery service. What do I need to do and which liquor license to apply for.
    Thank you

  43. Hi what is the cheapest liquor license one can go for if you want to run your business from home (big garage)
    Western Cape
    Cape Town

  44. Hi
    Can u assist me I need to open the Pub in my resident in Estcourt Area the place is still underdevelopement I need start very soon. Can you please plaese be can u also advise me with disadvantages and advantage on this business. But even though I am going to open.

  45. Hi. I am based in Gauteng. I would like information about opening an online liquor store(Clients will be ordering online then items will get delivered to them) and how much does the license cost. Thank you.

  46. Hi Renier, I plan to make my own Gin, craft Gin. What license is required and what is the rules.
    Question relates to premises, who can I sell to and price for license?

  47. Hi, I am writing to enquire about lounge license, the required documents regarding this matter please, your response will be highly appreciated in this regard, Free State, (S.A.)

  48. Good day,m staying in a new development area in the south of Johannesburg ,no church or school around the area and I would like to sell from the residential,

  49. Hi, I need assistance with information on procuring a liquor license for a private dining service based in Gauteng. Would it be possible for me to get a liquor license and if yes which one would be the best for me.

  50. Good day
    I’m in the process is starting a Tarven business. Could you please email me the forms for application of liquor license and also quotation as to how much it would cost to obtain the license.

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