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The pros and cons of restaurants that open without a liquor license

21 Jul 2016

It’s quite incredible to witness the opening of so many restaurants this Winter, considering that the tourists only make their way back here in Spring and many South Africans are feeling the pinch, trying to save as much as they can – hello Winter restaurant specials!

Check out these new spots that have opened recently…
The Shortmarket Club (Cape Town)
Urbanologi (Joburg)
Gunston’s Gastropub (PE)
Tuk Tuk  (Franschhoek)

The one thing that I have noticed about new restaurants is that many of them open without a liquor license. I know it takes a long time to process and that there is a lot of  admin involved (of which restaurateurs have no control over) but it’s something of a pet peeve of mine. Especially when I’ve realized I’m ill prepared. But in my defense – how many of us actually call ahead of time to ask whether or not a restaurant is licensed?

The downside
You’ve planned to meet a friend at the new ‘it’ spot only to find out that they can’t serve you any alcohol. If you’re OK with that then it shouldn’t be an issue but if you are with someone who wants to quench their thirst with a frosty beer, you’ll need to think of somewhere new to go (i.e. somewhere ELSE to find a parking spot!).

On the other hand if you have been clever and brought your own bottle of wine but want more after you’ve finished it, there isn’t the option to simply order another bottle. So you really need to know how much to bring (or how much you’re planning to drink) and to be honest, it’s not something anyone really ‘plans’ is it?

The upside
Your bill is way cheaper (read: How restaurants secretly get you to spend more). Plus, you are able to choose exactly what you want to drink instead of just relying on what’s available on the drinks menu.

Take away message? It’s always good to know the liquor license status of the restaurant you’re going to…before you get there! How to do this? Find their details online and call them! A simple life lesson that will save you from much disappointment and frustration.

Until my next restaurant rant,




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