Under the licensing laws in Ireland any bar or pub looking to serve a substantial meal at the premises to its customers must firstly obtain a restaurant certificate. This is a certificate issued by the local District Court that the premises may be deemed a "restaurant" under the Acts. It involves the Court issuing a declaration as to the suitability of the premises as a restaurant. The application for a certificate can be made once the local Gardai have been notified and the necessary papers filed with the Court office. The application can be made at any time during the year.
Once a business premises has a licence, the company or business principals can apply for this additional certificate. It is legally "attached" to the existing licence. It is not a licence in it's own right and can only be sought where an existing licence is in place. The licence must also be current.
The benefits of having a restaurant certificate is that the bar or pub, in addition to the profitable food sale, can serve alcohol for an extra time after the end of normal hours authorised by the Ordinary-on pub licence. This is typically an extra hour. The alcohol must only be served with food during this time.
Restaurants which are the holders of a Wine Retailer's on Licence, can also apply to the District Court for a Restaurant Certificate. The benefit of this addition to a basic restaurant licence is that by law, the restaurant can then serve beer to its customers. Please be aware that only beer is permitted with the grant of the certificate and not spirits. Please see our separate restaurant section for more specific information on restaurants.
As with most licences, restaurant certificates are renewed annually, in September of each year. This involves an application to the Court each year in September for the renewal of the certificate for another year. If there are no objections, this is typically a routine exercise but the application must be made on time each year, otherwise the renewal could be at risk. Businesses must renew the licence to which the certificate is attached at the same time.
At Abacus Legal we routinely act for numerous restaurants and pubs in the applications for and renewal of restaurant certificates. We advise at the outset and agree our costs before undertaking any action. Our experience of the process will ensure a smooth and stress free process so that you are free to concentrate on the development of your business.