Should we have a bar area at our school fete?

Reader question:

What are your thoughts on having a bar area at school fetes? When asking parents they are super keen, we just need more ideas to convince board members.

Here is some advice from our Facebook community on having a bar area at a school fete:

  • We had a bar area at our most recent school fair, it was a hit! Especially for Dads. Wine can be trouble for the ladies though because it is strong.
  • Get a local microbrewery on board and see how you can help each other. We had one that provided beer at cost and took back the kegs not used. They also came in and did beer tasting sessions which patrons could pre-book. You can get them to advertise your event through their social media, and you can do the same for them.
  • We have always had a bar (have done so at both Catholic schools my children have been at). We usually have Tapas or some similar type of finger food with it and of course, the bar area has to be taped off. Did not need a permit.
  • We always have a bar at our state school fair. It’s usually the last thing to close so parents can have a wind down after packing up.
  • We are in Victoria, the bar brings in lots of cash. You need to obtain a liquor license for the designated area, and it must be roped off. Also, those serving the alcohol have to have RSA (responsible serving of alcohol). At ours, we sell cans of beer and one white wine and one red. At the end of the fete, the bar stays open for all the volunteers to have a drink.


Here are some great points from one reader:

  • We have run a bar for more than 7 years at our school fete. It’s one of the highest profit makers apart from rides.
  • Check your local and state regulations- Qld doesn’t need an alcohol permit if it’s not the main thing at the event. There is heaps of info on the government webpage. It also gives you guidelines such as you must have water available and food available when alcohol is being served.
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol is required by at least 1 person who will be present at all times. RSA can be obtained online for $30.
  • We added meat trays raffles the last 2 yrs and has been a real positive outcome.
  • A sponsor may come on board from a local business that could donate coolers to sell and maybe donate $100 towards meat trays or ice.
  • We used a local liquor store who was willing to buy back the unused alcohol as long as it was still cold and in full cartons. Therefore don’t open every carton until you need it. They also were happy to be on hand on the night for a quick phone call to get extra supplies if we ran out.
  • Only ever had 1 parent complain that alcohol should not be at a school event- however, we had more than 10 give positive feedback to school in writing.
  • Kids in years 4/5/6 don’t usually want parents hanging around them at fetes so the bar area gives these parents somewhere to hang out and spend their money.
  • We have about 60-100 patrons in the bar area at any 1 time. We bunting off the area and have all the liquor appropriate signage up. It takes about 4-5 people to man the area each hour for our size.


Only a few readers didn’t agree with bars at a school fete but run them successfully at other times:

  • Would depend on the school community as to whether a bar would be able to operate. Our school is from a low socio-economic area and there is no way our Principal would agree to a bar being at an event where there are children present. We have a bar at our 18+ events with the school’s blessing.
  • Our principal does not allow alcohol when children are around. Adults only trivia night our bar was hugely successful.


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Originally published 23 April, 2019

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