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Private Party Rules

Will I have to comply with my licence conditions for a private party?

Q: I am planning to celebrate my 60th birthday next year at my pub. I will be inviting family, friends (including some of my regulars) and there will be a live band. The whole pub will be shut to the public and it’ll be a free bar. Will I have to comply with my licence conditions?

A: It’s always a good idea to bear your licence conditions in mind, but it doesn’t sound as if you will be having any licensable activities. I assume you are not charging your guests for the entertainment so, as long as your party is for private invited guests only then the entertainment will not be Regulated Entertainment, and will not require a licence (remember the Live Music Act may apply by then anyway). I would, however, be clear well before the party about who is invited – regulars can often become the best of friends of licensees, but if there is any doubt who can attend there is a risk the authorities could consider the event not private but open to the public. A guest list is often helpful. I always think that it’s worth calling a friendly Licensing Officer at the Council closer to the date, however, just to ensure that there isn’t any misunderstanding. Better that than have an unexpected visit, even if you’re in the right. Please also remember that other legislation (e.g. Notice Abatement Notices) would still apply.

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