Late night refreshment

The provision of late night refreshment is the supply of hot food or hot drink to the public, for consumption on or off the premises, between the hours of 11pm and 5am the following morning.

If you carry out, or are planning to carry out this licensable activity you will need an authorisation.  An authorisation can be either a premises licence, if you are carrying on the activity on a regular basis and large numbers of people are attending, or a temporary event notice (TEN) if you only plan to do it a few times per calendar year and the total number of people involved at any one time does not exceed 499.

There are some exemptions which do not constitute the provision of late night refreshment.  Examples of these are, the provision of hot drink by vending machines directly to the customer; where hot food/drink is supplied free of charge; or where it is supplied by a registered charity eg to the homeless in towns and cities.

Frequently asked questions [PDF 11.72KB]

Why does the provision of late night refreshment need to be regulated?

The main reason is to ensure that the premises operate safely and responsibly, and that local residents and businesses are not subjected to any avoidable late night disturbance.  Many premises which serve late night refreshment will be used by people who may have been drinking at other licensed premises earlier in the evening. This can result in large numbers of customers gathering outside restaurants and takeaways, for example, which can give rise to nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

These issues can be tackled by regulating the provision of late night refreshment.  The law allows residents, local businesses and any of the statutory authorities, (police, fire, environmental health, trading standards, planning and child protection) to make comments on new applications. It also gives them the opportunity to request a review of an existing licence where they have concerns about the way in which a premises is being run, if there is evidence to suggest that this is impacting on the licensing objectives.  These are the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Guidance for members of the public. How to:

Another reason regulation was introduced was to help drive up standards within the late night hospitality sector and to encourage greater diversification of the evening economy.

Regulation summary

Licensing Act 2003

Apply online

If you think you need a licence you can apply online or by downloading the application form and making a payment over the telephone. Check out our premises licence and temporary event notice pages for details of how to apply.

If you are unsure whether you need a licence and cannot find the information you require or if you wish to discuss your query with a member of the Licensing Team then please get in touch.