Nightclubs provide great entertainment across the country, offering a fun-filled place for friends to enjoy a sociable drink in the evening and let their hair down. If your dream is to provide the perfect nightclub experience to customers of your own, it can be daunting knowing where to start. One of the biggest aspects to consider is the nightclub license requirements involved with opening your own bar or club.
Any business, organisation or individual who wants to sell or supply alcohol in the UK must hold a valid licence from their local council. The Home Office governs the laws and policies surrounding alcohol licences, and if you want to start your own nightclub or bar, you will need to apply for a premises licence.
Other types of alcohol licences that may be required depending on the club you are setting up include a personal licence and a club premises certificate. Before starting your new venture, thoroughly research the type of nightclub licence requirements you need and whether you are required to get a premises or personal licence.
In most cases, if you want to serve alcohol, you will be required to have a Designated Premises Supervisor who holds their own personal licence, as well as the nightclub itself having a premises licence. You can find all the required information about alcohol licences on the government website here.
When opening a nightclub, the chances are you will be planning to provide some kind of entertainment to your punters, which is yet another thing to consider when looking at nightclub licence requirements. The exact regulations may vary from location to location, but generally, if you want to provide entertainment between 11 pm and 8 am or play either live or recorded music for over 500 people, then you will need to obtain an entertainment licence from your local council.
Your premises licence may also cover you for entertainment. All the information and frequently asked questions on entertainment licences can be found on the government website here.
If you are planning on selling any form of hot food or drink at your nightclub, even if it is just a kebab at the end of the night, you will need to get the correct permission under The Licensing Act 2003.
In most cases, your premises licence will also cover you for serving hot food and drink late at night, so be sure to look into this properly when applying for your premises licence. You might also be required to register your business as a food service, check with your local licensing authority.
The licensing authority for your area is usually your local authority; you can check this for your area here.
The UK has strict regulations on nightclubs, which means that everything must be in perfect order when it comes to nightclub insurance. You will need to ensure you are providing a secure and safe environment for your customers as well as making sure all your staff and the building itself have adequate insurance cover.
The various nightclub licence requirements control how you run your business and ensures that every aspect meets certain criteria, and the same can be said for nightclub insurance. You will be required to have employer’s liability insurance as it is a legal requirement for employers in the UK. It is also wise and often necessary to get buildings and contents insurance, which differs greatly for nightclubs compared with other businesses because of the unique nature and use of the building.
Another type of insurance that is not a legal requirement but should definitely be considered as essential for nightclubs is public liability insurance. It may be a requirement of your premises licence to have public liability insurance that covers particular claims such as injury.
In addition to nightclub licence requirements and nightclub insurance, you will also need to consider other aspects of the day to day running of a nightclub, including working closely with the local police force, trading standards and environmental health groups. Nightclubs often come under scrutiny for various reasons, so it is essential to ensure your nightclub is operating legally and fairly at all times.