Alcohol and entertainment licences

The Licensing Act 2003 governs the licensing of premises and individuals involved with 'licensable activities' which include the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainments and the provision of late night refreshment. 

The types of businesses and organisations might include: pubs and bars, cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, late-opening cafes, takeaways, village and community halls and supermarkets.

Any person involved with a business which uses the premises for licensable activities may apply for a premises licence either on a permanent or time-limited basis.

Certain other individuals and groups (including registered clubs, charities, NHS organisations etc) may also apply for a premises licence. A person will have to be identified as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS); such a nominee will have to be in possession of a current personal licence.

Types of licences

The types of licences required are defined as follows:

  • any business or other organisation that sells or supplies alcohol on a permanent basis needs to apply for a premises licence
  • anyone who plans to sell or supply alcohol or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol must apply for a personal licence
  • qualifying members’ clubs (such as the Royal British Legion, working men’s clubs and rugby clubs) need to apply for a club premises certificate if they plan to sell or supply alcohol

Licensable activities

All businesses and organisations that undertake licensable activities on a permanent basis must have a premises licence or club premises certificate from their local authority.

Sale or supply of alcohol

The sale by retail of alcohol and the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club are both licensable activities.

Regulated entertainment

Regulated entertainment is broadly defined as any entertainment that takes place in the presence of an audience (whether members of the public or a club), or otherwise for profit, and the premises have the purpose of providing the entertaining concerned. This could be:

  • a performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • a boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • a performance of live music
  • playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance

Late night refreshment

Late night refreshment is the sale of hot food or drink to the public to consume off or on the premises) between 11pm and 5am.