By Rebecca Harris
Sydney has finally seen the opening of its first small bar, albeit more than five months after the small bar legislation was introduced.
From July 1 this year, changes to existing legislation have seen the cost of obtaining a liquor license for small venues decrease from $50,000 to just $500 and, as the first successful venue, Small Bar opened to much fanfare in its Sussex Lane location last night.
When the changes were introduced, it was presumed venues would open within a few weeks.
But Anthony Sullivan, director of chartered accountancy firm Lawler Partners and advisor to Small Bar owners, Luke Heard and Chris Lane, said the process was not as simple as people might think.
“It’s a two stage process where you need to have liquor license and DA approval. There is a lot of bureaucratic red tape to get through. These guys were hoping to be open in time for Melbourne Cup,” he said.
The lengthy delay and the fact that this is the first small bar that has opened demonstrate the difficulties involved in successfully applying the new laws.
“I think they (the City of Sydney) have underestimated the process involved. There’s no change in efficiency, only in price,” he said. “You have to go through a lengthy procedure to actually get final approval.”