Drinking water provision

Related tags Drinking water Alcoholic beverage Officer

QWe have been told that we have to provide free drinking water in this restaurant. We have bottled water on our wine list. Where does this idea come...

QWe have been told that we have to provide free drinking water in this restaurant.

We have bottled water on our wine list.

Where does this idea come from?

AThere is a legal obligation contained in the Licensing Act which covers restaurants and certain residential hotels.

This states that it is an "implied condition" of the grant of any restaurant or residential licence that suitable beveragesother than intoxicating liquor (including drinking water) shallbe equally available for consumption with a meal.

In otherwords, a diner is not forced to have alcohol if he or she does not want it.

In practice, all licensed premises will have non-alcoholic drinks available.

In the current market it would be nonsense not to stock them.

The real issue concerns the provision of anything without charge.

This is not a legal requirement, but in my view not to provide drinking water on request without making a charge would be unreasonable.

But the presence of bottled water on the menu would, in my view, fulfil the condition as it stands.

However, the condition cannot be imported into Part I of the Act so as to oblige public house licensees to give away free glasses of drinking water on demand.

It certainly cannot be made a condition of the justices' licence, although in the case of late-night discos it may well be included as a condition of the public entertainment licence.

The host of the machine QI seem to remember reading some time ago about the use of gaming machines outside permitted hours being illegal.

Is it therefore necessary to switch them off exactly at the terminal hour, rather like stopping drink sales, or can they be used during drinking-up time?

AAmusement with prizes machines are not governed by the terms of the Licensing Act 1964 and are therefore not subject to the permitted hours for the sale of drink.

They are operated on your premises by virtue of a permit under section 34 of the Gaming Act 1968.

This is obtained from the licensing authority, which in your case would be the licensing justices for the district.

The schedule governing the grant of these permits makes no mention of any conditions as to the hours of use being placed upon the permit itself.

The licence for AWP machines, similarly, is not granted subject to such conditions but merely authorises the use of individual gaming machines on the premises.

From your own point of view, this means that you could not be prosecuted ­ or have your permit revoked ­ if persons were allowed to play the machines outside the permitted hours for the sale of alcohol.

It is up to you at what stage you decide to turn off the machines, in order to encourage people to leave your premises.

Your customers have a right merely to finish the game which they have commenced, not embark upon a "session" of games.

You are always at liberty to withdraw their permission to be on the premises at all, at any time.

They are not entitled to insist on the machine being kept on, although you will use your discretion as to how to handle a situation which arises at the end of the evening session.

Babes are not exempt QIs it true you said that babes in arms were exempt from licensing laws?

My local police licensing officer says that isn't true.

AAnd he's right.

But I didn't say it.

Quite the opposite.

What I wrote last year was that a baby was a "child under 14" and could not legally be present in a bar without a children's certificate in operation.

Where the confusion may have arisen is that I added the comment that even if you do not have a children's certificate, if you have an area which is not part of the bar, in which drinks may be consumed but not supplied, then under-14s may be allowed to remain there with their parents.

So babies are not banned entirely from the premises, only from the bar areas.

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