News Outdoor Areas

Top Tips for Marquees and Temporary Bars

If, for a change, the weather forecasters are right and we have a heatwave on the way then you may be considering using any external area you have to take full advantage of the summer - however long it may last.

If you are considering putting a marquee or something similar in your beer garden for an event over the summer months, then you may also be considering installing a temporary bar and perhaps offering entertainment and food as well.

If this is the case then there are a number of points you should consider to ensure that you have the necessary authorisations in place to do this:

  • Firstly, you should check your licensing plan to identify if the external area you are proposing to use is within the licensed area to sell alcohol. If this is the case then you could have a temporary bar in the marquee without any further authorisations;

  • However, before proceeding on this basis, you should also check your premises licence to ensure that it does not contain any conditions which would prevent you from doing this e.g. a condition restricting you from having customers in external areas after a certain time;

  • If the proposed bar is not within the licensed area, you will not be able to use it without further authorisation. However if your premises licence has both on and off sales for the supply of alcohol then you could rely on this to service the marquee, either by customers purchasing their drinks at the internal bar and taking them outside, or by serving customers in this area by waiter/waitress service;

  • However, if you still want to install a temporary bar, you can apply for further authorisation by way of a temporary event notice (TEN) or a variation to your licence. An important note here is to ensure that any authorisation provides for supply of alcohol both on and off the premises to ensure that customers will be able to take their drinks from the marquee to the premises and vice versa;

  • In relation to any proposed entertainment, e.g. live or recorded music then you should check your premises licence to see if this is authorised for the external area. However, if it is not then you may be able to rely on the various exemptions for live and recorded music under the Live Music Act and subsequent deregulation;

  • If you are proposing to serve hot food and refreshments after 23:00 then you will also need to ensure that you have authorisation for late night refreshment for the external area on your premises licence;

  • If you are not authorised by your licence or the Live Music Act for entertainment and/or late night refreshment then, as with the temporary bar, you will need to apply for further authorisation, either by way of a temporary event notice or variation to your licence (all could be incorporated into one application);

  • If the marquee will be a permanent structure then you will need to consider both planning permission and an application for a variation to your premises licence.

It is important to remember that there may be other considerations such as health and safety, food safety, fire safety and noise issues which should be dealt with before using any external area - if these are not satisfied then you could face enforcement action, e.g. a noise abatement notice.