Alcohol bans

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Hamilton Alcohol Control Bylaw 2015​ is designed to reduce alcohol-related harm, crime and disorder, and to provide a safe city environment. The information below outlines our city's alcohol ban areas and ban hours; ban exceptions; and information on issues related to people drinking in an alcohol ban area. We have also provided a map of Hamilton's central city alcohol ban area.

​If you still need more information, please contact us​ (ask for alcohol licensing) or email us​​.​ 

Central city ban area​

Hamilton City has a 24/7 alcohol ban in the central city area and in parts of Te Rapa. There is also a Hamilton-wide alcohol ban in all other public places between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

The city-wide alcohol ban was introduced to address problems associated with the negative effects of alcohol consumption experienced in wider parts of Hamilton.

The alcohol ban areas are outlined in the maps in Schedule 1 of the Hamilton Alcohol Control Bylaw 2015 (PDF, 1.68 MB).

The central city alcohol ban area is outlined below:

Hamitlon alcohol ban - sign map.png 

​Public places

A public place is any area that is open to, or being used by the public and includes roads, service lanes, footpaths, pedestrian malls, public car parks, parks and reserves.

The alcohol ban also applies to the possession and consumption of alcohol in a vehicle within a specified public place. The Police have the power to search a vehicle that is in, or is entering a specific public place to ascertain if alcohol is present.

Alcohol ban exceptions

The alcohol bans do not prevent people transporting alcohol (unopened bottles, cans) to or from private premises and allows for:

  • 'bring your own' (BYO) patrons taking their own​ alcohol to a restaurant
  • businesses to receive stock
  • residents and their visitors to transport alcohol to and from their residences.

The Bylaw does not prohibit the possession or consumption of alcohol in a public place for which an alcohol licence has been issued under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. This includes footpath areas that are part of licensed premises such as a bar or restaurant, and is clearly defined by the placement of tables and chairs outside those premises.

Council may grant dispensation or a waiver to allow alcohol to be consumed at special events held within a liquor ban area upon application to the Chief Executive of Hamilton City Council. For further information please check out our Bylaws webpage and refer to clause 6 of the Hamilton Alcohol Control Bylaw 2015. You can also download the Bylaw PDF directly here  Hamilton Alcohol Control Bylaw 2015 (PDF, 1.68 MB).

If you need more information, please  contact us​ (ask for alcohol licensing) or email us​​.​

Drinking in an alcohol ban area

The Police have the power to search, seize or arrest if they suspect someone is breaking the Bylaw. The Police do not require a warrant to conduct a search to ascertain whether alcohol is present in a container or a vehicle.

A police constable may issue an infringement notice (fine) of $250 for a breach of an alcohol ban. The fine may be issued:

  • instantly (without arrest); or
  • following an arrest for breaching the alcohol ban; or
  • by post, after the breach has occurred.

Check out our Bylaws webpage ​re Clause 11 of the Hamilton Alcohol Control Bylaw 2015 (PDF, 1.68 MB) for more information on the powers of the Police.

Contact your local Police station​ to report drinking in alcohol ban areas. ​​​

Page reviewed: 03 Aug 2016 3:54pm