Published: 11 September 2014
Q: I have recently taken over a pub/restaurant and I have found that on most weeks, our Monday and Tuesday nights in the restaurant are very quiet. I would like to arrange for customers to bring their own drinks on either of those nights, with the hope that this will entice more customers during the early part of the week. Can I do this under my Premises Licence?
A: You certainly can do this. The Licensing Act 2003 does not prohibit you from allowing customers to bring in their own drinks; ‘BYOB’ nights are becoming more and more common. It is also worth noting that you could charge customers corkage fees on these nights for supplying them with clean glasses, and opening bottles. However, before organising the event you should check your Premises Licence to make sure that there is no condition attached to the licence which prevents customers bringing drink with them (perhaps one that was originally intended to restrict outside drinking). In the unlikely event that you have such a condition on your licence you may wish to have a word with your local Police and Licensing Officer to check whether they would have any objection to you applying for a variation of your licence to remove the condition from your licence.
But be aware you are still responsible for the customers’ behaviour while at your premises and in the immediate vicinity. You cannot be prosecuted for serving a drunk but you could be prosecuted for allowing drunkenness and disorderly conduct on your premises, which is an offence under the Licensing Act 2003.
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