You'll need a licence to carry out any of these activities:

  • the sale by retail of alcohol
  • supplying alcohol to club members and their guests
  • providing regulated entertainment
  • providing late night refreshment

Regulated entertainment

Regulated entertainment includes the following activities:

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

If they take place:

  • in the presence of a public audience for their entertainment
  • exclusively to members of a qualifying club or
  • in private and a charge is made with a view to profit

There are times when you may not need a licence to provide certain types of regulated entertainment and please do contact us if you need advice about this.

Late night refreshment

This is the supply of hot food or hot drink to the public from any premises (for consumption on or off the premises) between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

This can include mobile units, takeaways, restaurants and places like garages or service stations selling hot food.

Premises that provide late night refreshment need to hold a premises licence.

An example of late night refreshment is, a supermarket or other business premises (for example, a garage) heating food or drink for customers between 11pm and 5am, or providing facilities for customers to heat food or drink above the ambient temperature. However, if the business is selling only cold food and drink, and not providing facilities to heat it, a premises licence is not required.

Another example would be a takeaway premises opening after 11pm and selling hot food. 

There are some exemptions when a licence for late night refreshment is not needed including:

  • Alcoholic hot drinks or hot drinks containing alcohol (although consent to sell alcohol will still be required)
  • Hot drinks distributed by a machine that is operated solely by the customer
  • Hot food or hot drink supplied free of charge, where there is also no charge for admission to any premises, or for some other item to obtain the hot food or hot drink
  • Hot food or hot drink supplied by a registered charity or by a person authorised by a registered charity (for example, a charity which is registered under the Charities Act 1993 or a charity not required by the Charities Act 1993 to be registered)
  • Hot food or hot drink supplied to members and guests of recognized clubs that hold a club certificate

If you are unsure about whether you need a late night refreshment licence please contact us by email.

What licence will I need?

If you're planning to carry out any of the above activities you will need to apply for a licence.

The licence you will need depends on the type of business or event you want to run:

Temporary event notice

A temporary event notice can be used to authorise licensable activities at an event that's for 499 people or less and lasts for no longer than seven consecutive days.

Please be aware that there are limits to the number of temporary event notices that can be applied for by one person and for a single premises in any year.  

Please contact us if you're not sure if your event can be carried out on a temporary event notice.

Please go to our pages on temporary event notices for more information and to apply.

Premises licence

To carry out any of the licensable activities on a permanent basis you'll need to apply for a premises licence (unless you're a qualifying club).

For example, you'll need a premises licence to run a pub, hotel, restaurant or late night takeaway.

If you want to hold a premises licence that authorises the sale of alcohol at the premises then you'll need to name a designated premises supervisor (DPS).  This person must hold a personal licence and will be responsible for authorising the alcohol sales.

Community premises may apply to remove the requirement to have a DPS.

Please go to our pages on premises licences for more information and to apply.

Club premises certificate

If you want to carry out licensable activities at a club premises you'll need to apply for either a premises licence or a club premises certificate.

Only qualifying clubs can apply for a club premises certificate and this can only be used to provide licensable activities for club members and their guests.  

Club premises don't have to have a designated premises supervisor.

Please go to our pages on club premises certificates for more information and to apply.

Review of a licence

A responsible authority or any other person can in certain circumstances apply for a review of a current premises licence or club certificate if a premises does not promote the four licensing objectives.  These are: 

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • the protection of children from harm

Following a review a premises may have changes made to their licence or in extreme cases be closed down.

If you want to call for a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate you'll need to read our guide to a review.


More guidance about the Licensing Act 2003 including further information about each of the licensable activities and the different licences is in our GN1 guidance.

Public register

You can view details of existing premises licences and a list of current applications on our licensing public register.