How to open a pub in Ireland

Ireland has always been known for its quality beverages and setting up your own Irish pub can be both an interesting and lucrative way to start a venture in Ireland. The Laws set in place to govern licensing matters in Ireland encompass a myriad of different Acts and Statutes passed into effect since the year 1880. Over the years these Acts have been revised and new ones have been introduced. Just like any other business entities in Ireland, a pub should be registered with the Companies Registration Office, the main body responsible for issuing registration licenses in Ireland. This is prerequisite for all entities in Ireland.
After successfully registering with the CRO, there are also further specific licenses required. Currently, the Irish jurisdiction recognized a standardized pub or bar license as a "seven-day ordinary on-license". This license allows Irish pubs or bars to conduct their daily activities within the following approved times: 
From Monday – Thursday: Opening time – 10:30 a.m. Closing time: 11:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: Opening time – 10:30 a.m. Closing time: 12:30 p.m.
Sunday: Opening time – 12:30a.m, Closing time: 11:00 p.m.
On approaching the stated closing time, the pub or bar is legally obligated to discontinue the serving of alcoholic beverages. There is a lawfully recognized provision for “drinking up” time, which is set at half an hour. Bars and pubs can potentially go beyond the previously stated times by filing appropriate applications for a special exception from the courts. In the case of musical occasions at pubs, the bar owner should first get approval via the Music and Licensing license instrument. In August of 2003, the responsible authorities signed into law a legal act that allowed “happy hours” to exist. However, nowadays the selling of alcohol at a lowered cost has been banned.
Provisions of the  "seven-day ordinary on-license"
The "seven-day ordinary on-license" does not allow food to be sold solely without any liquor being put for sale. Any entity wanting to utilize such a model has a compulsory requirement to file an application with the courts for a Restaurant Certificate. New pubs can be granted a "seven-day ordinary on-license" provided another license is revoked.  This, as a result, means that an akin license has to be obtained or should be available from a different location, which has had its license revoked by the court and has been replaced by the newly granted one.
Laws pertaining to children in the pub
Any business dealing in liquor products such as bars trading in an Irish location must always take into account the declaration of the law with regards to children in a bar or pub location. Children below 18 years of age can only be allowed to enter into a pub provided they are with their parent or guardian. In this situation, children can stay on the location with their parent or guardian anytime between 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (or alternatively 10:00 p.m. in the summer/autumn period – from May to September).
If the owner of the pub or bar, who bears the liquor license, decides that the presence of a minor on the premises is harmful to the child in any way, he or she may legally instruct the parent or guardian to take away the child from their premises. Children aged 15 – 17 years of age may stay around on the location beyond 9:00 p.m. if only the event attended for is a private one. Such an occasion subsequently has the mandate to serve a significant meal as part of the proceedings.  The holder of the liquor license has an obligation to put on show a poster or a visible notice of some sort to describe these prerequisites every time. Imposition of fines is possible if these regulations are broken.
When starting the proceedings of a pub-based entity in Ireland, it is imperative to remember this and include the costs to be incurred in garnering the license in the drafts of your business plan.
How to renew the ordinary-on Pub Licenses?
Ordinary-on Pub Licenses require renewal as a matter of obligation on a yearly basis and, except if there are any oppositions, this is a typical responsibility of the accounting team. No court involvement is mandated for the process. The precondition for license renewal is a lawfully binding tax clearance certificate as issued by the Irish Revenue Commissioners. If a pub has not been able to undergo a renewal of the license, for instance, because the pub has liquidated, an application can be filed to the courts in some cases to reinstate the license for another newly established company at the same premises or for the intention to sell.
Smoking regulations in Irish Pubs
From 2004, the Irish government introduced a blanket prohibition on smoking at work and locations where the public gather. The ban has stringent enforcement and takes into account bars, clubs, restaurants, public property, cars belonging to firms, clubs, taxis, and vans – and inside a 3-meter radius to the doorways to these sites. The highest allowable fine on the spot stands at €3,000 for infringements. People who continue to repeatedly commit the same offense can potentially be imprisoned. Bars and pubs are expected to have dedicated smoking zones. These areas must not be rooms and shielded spaces cannot have greater than half of the walls covered up. An easily visible sign on the location has to notify the customers of the ban (either in Irish or in English). A contact individual’s details have to be attached in case of any grievances.
The Takeaway
SIGTAX has proven experience and expertise in licensing issues in Ireland particularly in matters concerning licensing of pubs and bars. We have a considerable number of licensed entities as our clientele and frequently consult on cost-related issues and strategy. We also help resolve complications that can result from attempting to meet the terms of Irish licensing laws. Don’t hesitate to contact our invaluable experts if you need any assistance or a tailored service.

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