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Do I need to vary my premises licence?

I have a tables and chairs licence - do I need to vary my licence to sell alcohol?

Q: I have been told by my Licensing Officer that if people are drinking alcohol outside my café then I must apply to vary my Premises Licence to extend the area that is covered by the red line on the plan, so that it goes around the tables and chairs I have outside. The Council have already granted a licence which permits me to have tables and chairs outside but is it correct that I have to include the outside area in my Premises Licence?

A: The Licensing Authority is incorrect. The place where the alcohol is sold is where it is ‘appropriated’ to the contract. In other words, the sale takes place at the point where the alcohol is ‘put aside’ to meet your order. This will be at the point of dispense, which is normally at the counter, whether that be the counter of your café behind which the alcohol is stored or at the bar counter. However you do need to be careful that your Premises Licence then permits you to sell alcohol for consumption both on the premises and off the premises if the outside area where your table and chairs are placed is not included within your licence. If you have permission for off sales, then alcohol can be sold ‘on the premises’ and then taken outside, whether that be by a customer or a member of staff, for consumption ‘off the premises’ in your outside area. With the summer months fast approaching (we hope) it is obviously important to check this as soon as possible and if necessary, vary your licence if off sales are not permitted.

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