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Alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshments - Licensing Act 2003

Alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshments - Licensing Act 2003

If you want to sell or serve alcohol, provide regulated entertainment, or serve hot food or drinks late at night, you'll need a licence*. 

Businesses and other organisations that carry out licensable activities on a regular basis need a premises licence.

Licensed premises must also have a designated premises supervisor that holds a personal licence if they intend to sell or serve alcohol.

Members’ clubs (such as working men’s clubs, rugby clubs) need to apply for a club premises certificate.

* Individuals or organisations that want to hold small-scale, occasional events that would otherwise require a licence can apply for a temporary event notice.

What are licensable activities?

Licensable activities means:

  • the sale of alcohol by retail
  • supply of alcohol by, or on behalf of, a club to its members
  • the provision of regulated entertainment
  • the provision of late night refreshment - the sale of hot food or drink to the public to consume off or on the premises, between 11pm and 5am.  

What is regulated entertainment?

Regulated entertainment generally includes: 

  • performance of a play
  • screening of a film
  • indoor sporting events
  • boxing or wrestling entertainment 
  • performance of live music
  • playing of recorded music
  • performance of dance
  • entertainment of a similar description, such as a circus.

To be licensable, one or more of these activities needs to be provided for the purpose (at least partly) of entertaining an audience, has to be held on premises made available for the purpose of enabling that activity, and must also either:

  • take place in the presence of a public audience, or
  • where it takes place in private, be the subject of a charge made with a view to profit.

The Gov.uk website has lots of useful information about whether your activity is licensable, and full details can be found in the Licensing Act 2003 legislation


Last updated on 05 October 2018