Premier Colin Barnett has promised to allow restaurants to serve liquor to patrons without requiring them to buy a meal in a move he said reflected Perth’s maturing sophistication.
Announcing the election promise at Wembley eatery Three Five Three this afternoon, Mr Barnett said the current restrictions were outdated.
Under the changes, laws will be altered to allow alcohol to be served without a meal at restaurants that hold fewer than 120 people and end a restriction which prevents bar patrons from carrying their own drink from a bar’s licensed area to its alfresco area.
The Premier said the changes would give Western Australians freedom to enjoy a drink at a restaurant if they wanted to experience a different environment to a bar or tavern.
“This change will mean that people who would like to have a drink at a restaurant, for instance after a show or event, can do so without having to order a meal,” he said.
“The changes will also remove the restriction on bars that prevent a patron from carrying their own drink from the bar to an alfresco area if they have to pass through a non-licensed area to do so, such as a public footpath.”
Mr Barnett said Perth is becoming an "increasingly vibrant and sophisticated city" and the current requirement for bar staff to carry drinks across footpaths was a “ridiculous law and a source of inconvenience and frustration to patrons and also owners and operators of those premises”.
This restriction has caused problems for venues such as The Flying Scotsman in Mt Lawley, and The George and the Belgian Beer Café in the Perth CBD.
The moves have the support of Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods, who said a recent AHA survey of 350 restaurants indicated 95 per cent would take up the offer to serve drinks to non-diners.
“People need and want to have a bit more flexibility with their drinking and dining options,” Mr Woods said.
“So if someone is meeting some friends who have had a meal they can come and sit down and have a drink with them and not be forced to have a meal.
“This is great for modernising our hospitality scene.”
Chief executive Bradley Woods said the policy supported the vibrant restaurant scene the community was seeking.
“The policy eliminates unnecessary red tape for restaurants wishing to offer a drink without a meal and removes the requirement for a special permit," Mr Woods said.“The policy ensures that diners must be seated at a table while drinking in a restaurant, which is an important distinction between restaurants and bars, hotels and taverns and provides clarity to local government, the public and hospitality businesses,” said Mr Woods.