Hundreds of Auckland bars and restaurants will be forced to close at 11pm under planned city council liquor law changes.

The council wants all on-licence premises outside the CBD closed by 11pm, unless they are situated in entertainment precincts such as Ponsonby Rd, Parnell Rd, Newmarket or Mission Bay.

However, some suburban bars could apply for an extended licence to midnight.

Liquor licences in the entertainment areas will allow venues to trade until 1am, with the ability to apply for extended licensing hours to 3am.

Bars and restaurants in central Auckland will be able to stay open until 1am or apply for a 3am or 24-hour licence.

The move has infuriated owners whose premises are outside the designated entertainment zones.

There are more than 1700 licensed premises in Auckland City, about 1260 of which are on-licence establishments such as bars and restaurants. About 300 have 24-hour licences.

Kings Arms owner Maureen Gordon said the policy would spell the end of live bands, and the hotel could be forced to close.

At present, many suburban bars and restaurants can stay open until 3am.

John Hellebrekers, who has renovated The Dominion bar and restaurant close to Eden Park in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup, said the proposed new hours were going backwards and against what the consumer wanted.

He said The Dominion took bookings from people who wanted to dine after rugby matches from 9pm.

With world cup matches scheduled to kick off up to 9pm, he would not be able to cater for after-match diners.

The council has been reviewing its alcohol strategy since November.

Working within the Sale of Liquor Act, the draft policy aims to minimise liquor-related harm, while also recognising that Auckland is a city where people can enjoy a drink safely and responsibly.

The Hospitality Association's Auckland branch president, Warren Stewart, said the policy flew in the face of common sense and would drive drinkers away from licensed premises to private parties, public areas and into central Auckland late at night.

Mark Alsen, who owns the Landing Restaurant and function venue in Onehunga, said business and private functions were an integral part of the business, and many of those started late.

"Arrival time for functions is usually between 7.30pm and 8.45pm. Patrons would not even have two hours at their Christmas or corporate functions," he said.

"Not everyone enjoys the inner-city atmosphere and would rather enjoy the convenience in their own community."

But city development committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar said it was important the liquor licensing policy reflected community needs.

"For this policy to work, initial feedback has emphasised that we must balance access to alcohol with keeping the community safe," he said.

The council carried out research which found residents believed central Auckland should be treated differently from the suburbs and the policy should reward good licensees.

It has invited public submissions by October 7.

A decision is expected in December.

PROPOSED TIMES
* Central city - 1am with extended hours to 3am or 24 hours.
* Entertainment precincts (Ponsonby Rd, Kingsland village, Mt Eden village, Parnell Rd, Newmarket, Mission Bay) - 1am with extended hours to 3am.
* Suburbs and other areas - 11am with an extended hour to midnight.