5 festive licensing tips for pubs

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs should check their licence restrictions before hosting games over Christmas
Pubs should check their licence restrictions before hosting games over Christmas

Related tags: Premises licence, Film, License

With Christmas fast approaching, now is the time to check your entertainment programme for the festive period is above board. Here are 5 tips for ensuring you and your customers have a very merry Christmas.
  1. Check that the activities authorised by your premises licence are correctly licensed for your festive activities. Check the activities authorised by your premises licence as early as possible when planning an event. If the activities you need are not on your premises licence or the hours for which they are permitted is not sufficient, you should consider applying for a temporary event notice (TEN). Many premises licences allow an extension of hours on certain notable days over Christmas and the new year and it is worth checking these as it can save the time and expense of applying for a TEN.
  2. Christmas film clubs are a popular form of entertainment and can appeal to customers of all ages. If you are intending to run a film night or film club, ensure that your premises licence permits the exhibition of films. For licensing purposes, a film is anything other than a live broadcast, so you will need this authorisation to show anything from It’s A Wonderful Life​ to the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special​, unless they are being broadcast live on television. You should also ensure that  you hold the correct authorisation from the relevant film distributor, such as a licence from Filmbank, the British Film Institute (BFI) or the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC).
  3. If you plan to offer a disco or live music event, check the conditions on your premises licence to ensure that there are no conditions restricting the times for any entertainment. Also, if you are close to local residents and plan to hold an event that is likely to result in higher levels of noise than they may be used to, speak to them prior to the event. Many people have time off work at Christmas and are likely to be at home more than normal, so the risk of disturbance can be higher.
  4. If you have an external area, consider holding a Christmas craft fair or mini-Christmas market with other local businesses. This is something unusual that can help to draw in a wider range of customers over the festive season and beyond.  If you plan to sell alcohol outside, check the plans attached to your premises licence. If the external area is within the area for the sale of alcohol and other licensable activities, which is usually shown with a red line, then you can sell mulled wine and festive ales outside.
  5. Games such as poker and bingo are popular all year round but they can be especially appealing during the festive period, when your customers have spent lots of hard-earned cash on presents for family and friends and want the opportunity to win some more. Poker and bingo are permitted in licensed premises but there are strict restrictions on the amount of stakes and prizes and you should take advice on these before offering poker or bingo.

Related topics: Licensing law

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