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Q: Is it legal to deny a request for tap water in Sydney (Australia) Bars ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Is it legal to deny a request for tap water in Sydney (Australia) Bars
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: pjc_au-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 15 Mar 2004 23:15 PST
Expires: 15 Apr 2004 00:15 PDT
Question ID: 317164
I live in Sydney, Australia and was in a night club recently. I asked
the bar staff for a glass of tap water (for free) and was told that I
had to buy bottled water - they would not serve tap water. I have
heard that his was illegal and advised them so however the staff
denied this and continued to refused to serve tap water.

Is it an urban myth that in Australia you must be served tap water if
you specifically request or must bars serve free tap water if
requested. In your reply please reference online legal references if
you can.

Many Thanks
Subject: Re: Is it legal to deny a request for tap water in Sydney (Australia) Bars
Answered By: robertskelton-ga on 16 Mar 2004 00:37 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi there,

In NSW, if tap water is supplied, then it must be:

"free or nominally priced to reflect any minor costs associated with the service."

If the venue does not offer tap water, then bottled water must be
reasonably priced.  A reasonable price for drinking water is:

a) where drinking water is sold on the premises in a pre-packaged
form, less than the lowest price at which an alcoholic drink is sold
on the premises; and

b) in any other circumstances, a nominal price.

The above information, and much more on the topic, can be found at the
NSW Department of Gaming and Racing website:


As a regular patron of Australian bars and nightclubs, my
understanding has always been that if they have the capability to
serve you tap water from the bar, then they should. Nightclubs
sometimes only serve bottled drinks, so in that case they can charge
you for water.

WA has a similar policy to NSW:

And in SA:
"I am advised that licensed premises are not required by law to offer
free water to customers when serving alcohol. However, the practice of
offering free tap water is very common in most pubs and clubs and is
strongly encouraged by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner as part of
a responsible service involving the supply of alcohol."

Search keywords:
site:au water nightclubs available pubs "free water" 

Best wishes,
pjc_au-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Many thanks for the answer. The details provided were exactly what I
was looking for and the response time was great as well. Cheers, Pete

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