Food, drink & late night

Sectors we serve

How we help the food, drink and entertainment sectors

Food, drink and entertainment is a colossal market. As operators, you are faced with a minefield of legal pitfalls. Here, we explain how our licensing solicitors can help.



If you run licensed premises, you’ll be aware of the glut of licensing laws that you can face when you are trying to operate in a way that suits your business. And if you are thinking of starting a business in this sector, you’ll need to put a lot of thought into the type of premises licence and conditions that you feel your new venture needs to be a success.

In either case, you will get the best results if you have an experienced licensing solicitor in your corner.

This is because, though the Licensing Act 2003 applies to all licensed premises equally, from pubs and bars to retail shops and online delivery, the type of operation you are running often has a bearing on the premises licence and conditions that you will obtain.

Plus, many of the 300 + local authorities which manage licensing in England and Wales apply parts of the Licensing Act 2003 in slightly different ways. And it is common for local authorities to have their own specific legal policies for their own specific needs.

If you are an operator, this can be a bit of a nightmare.

As, to put it bluntly, the premises licence and conditions (opening hours, need for door security, off sales, age verification, entertainment allowed etc) that you might easily obtain in one area, could be a very hard-fought battle in another.

And always remember that alcohol licensing can affect people’s lives, so you can often find yourself facing a passionate and sometimes angry group of residents who are objecting to your application.

Nonetheless, our licensing solicitors successfully manage over 10,000 applications a year for every type of licenced premises imaginable.

And the type of legal advice we give covers, but is not limited to:

  • obtaining new premises licences
  • licensing due diligence on acquisitions
  • premises licence variations
  • appeals
  • licensing committee hearings
  • temporary event notices
  • noise complaints
  • pavement licences, and
  • regulatory advice in relation to health and safety

Here you can read how we help:

  • Pubs and bars
  • Restaurants and takeaways
  • Accommodation; and
  • Nightclubs;

Please see here for how we work with retail, hotels and trade bodies.

Food, drink and entertainment

Pubs and bars

If you are like many people, when you think of licensed premises, you might automatically think of pubs or bars. And though the licensed hospitality sector is far bigger than this, pubs and bars are one of the biggest parts of the sector that we give licensing legal advice to.

What is interesting about this sector of hospitality is that there are so many different kinds of operation. From gastro pubs offering food which rivals restaurants, through to live music focused pubs, wet led drinking pubs, cocktail bars, private members clubs, accommodation pubs and country pubs. Then there is the new concept of offering entertainment in pubs and bars, such as darts, golf, ping-pong, computer gaming and even axe throwing!

But regardless of sector, the Licensing Act 2003 applies equally. So, no matter what licensing problem you are facing, our licensing solicitors will help you solve it.

As you will no doubt agree, examples of success are worth more than words alone. So click here to see how we helped a chain of highly successful cocktail bars extend their trading times to 3am, despite a number of representations (objections) to the premises licence variation and the fact that the site was situated in a cumulative impact zone.

To give you a flavour of the number of pubs and bars we advise, our clients include:

  • Mitchell & Butlers; operators of brands such as Sizzling Pubs, Harvester, Ember Inns, Toby Carvery, Nicholson’s, O’Neill’s, All Bar One, Browns and Miller & Carter
  • Stonegate Pub Company, the largest pub company in the UK operating brands such as Be at One, City Bars, Common Room, Popworld, Slug & Lettuce and Walkabout
  • Fuller’s
  • Young’s
  • Admiral Taverns
  • Wells & Co

But it is not just large pub chains who turn to us for licensing legal advice, we help 1000s of small, family-owned independent pubs and bars across the whole of England and Wales.

Food, drink and entertainment


In recent years, restaurants have taken an increasing share of the hospitality sector, the majority of which has been in the fast casual dining and takeaway market.

We have given legal advice to help many of these brands build large, national estates of successful sites in almost every town and city across England and Wales. And of course, every area of London, too.

From PizzaExpress, Wagamama, Bill’s, Zizzi and Cote to Domino’s Pizza, Yo! and Five Guys, our specialist licensing solicitors are relied upon time-and-time again to obtain or vary premises licences that match the exact need of the operator.

But is it not just fast casual dining operators that rely on us for their licensing advice. We also work with more traditional and high-end operators such as D&D Restaurants, Caprice Restaurants (operators of Scott’s, Sexy Fish and J Sheeky) and The Ivy Collections.

Plus 100s of smaller independents and family run restaurants such as Smoking Goat, OYSTERMEN, BabaBoom, Dion, Tamatanga and Big Mama Italian.

And we have also developed giving licensing legal advice to hotels for their bar and restaurant operations, with a recent highlight being the opening of Nusr-Et Steakhouse (owned by Instagram influencer and chef, Salt Bae) in The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel, London.

If you need help with any licensing issue, get in touch with a licensing solicitor today. Call 0115 953 8500 or 020 3859 7760 for a free and confidential chat.

Food, drink and entertainment

Dark Kitchens

Alongside restaurants, we also give licensing advice to operators running so called ‘dark kitchens.’ These kitchens prepare and sell meals exclusively through delivery, meaning food that is produced there can only be consumed elsewhere. This allows operators to deliver to locations where they have no high street restaurants.

The success of tech brands such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat have paved the way for dark kitchens, giving people an easy way to order their favourite restaurant meals at home.

Food delivery driver

However, to run a dark kitchen that retails alcohol and sells hot food after 11pm, you will need a suitable premises licence. These can be difficult to obtain if the location of your dark kitchen is close to residential homes. And common representations (objections) to premises licence applications cover noise, odour and public nuisance.

This is particularly problematic if mopeds are being used for late night / early morning deliveries as, to be blunt, they are loud.

To illustrate local reaction to some dark kitchens, one premises licence application where we were giving legal advice attracted over 20 representations from residents along with a petition containing over 150 signatures. Nonetheless, and at a contested hearing, our licensing solicitors obtained the premises licence and conditions needed to run the dark kitchen as the operator wanted to.

National brands that we have advised include Deliveroo and Cote, the latter launching ‘Cote at Home’; an innovative service allowing customers to order pre-prepared chilled meals and alcohol for delivery from 3 different locations in North London.

Food, drink and entertainment

Night Clubs

The nightclub sector is alive, kicking and vibrant. It consists of a small group of major operators with a healthy mix of independents and privately owned brands, boasting venues with unique identities and offering exclusive experiences.

Although you might not know it today, Poppleston Allen was founded on the back of giving licensing legal advice to nightclubs; so, we truly do understand the sector.

We advise the UK’s largest multi-site national operator, REKOM, whose brands include PRYZM, ATIK, Bar&Beyond, eden, Fiction, Cameo and Vinyl. Plus, we help 100s of independent nightclubs and late bars.

The licensing challenges that you will face in the nightclub sector are the same whether you are running a multi-site chain or single site operator.

We have a real expertise in securing later hours, so we can help you no matter if you need a 6am finish or a 24-hour licence.

We are also highly experienced in defending nightclubs and late bars against enforcement action by the various authorities and, in particular, dealing with review applications.

Reviews can be or a range of issues, and here you can read about how partner Jonathan Smith saved a premises licence that had been revoked due to a serious assault in one of the UKs largest nightclubs.

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