What are the types of licenses nightclubs need?

Written by andrea austin
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What are the types of licenses nightclubs need?
Nightclub (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Running a nightclub is a very lucrative business, however, there are several things that a potential nightclub owner must do in order to comply with rules and regulations that are set up not only by the city, but the state and federal government as well.

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A quick look

There are several types of licenses nightclubs need, depending on which activities the proprietor wants to offer to their clientele. The potential owners must obtain all federal as well as city permits before opening. But, even before worrying about licenses, the first thing to do is to make sure that the location chosen is zoned for the type of nightclub you want. Sometimes it is difficult to find the right location because the local residents do not want a business that provides liquor, which may produce rowdy drunks around their neighbourhood.

Liquor license

The most necessary types of licenses nightclubs need include the liquor licenses. Depending on where in the United States the nightclub is, you might be required to get both a liquor license, which allows you to sell alcoholic beverages, and a pouring license to be allowed to actually serve the liquor in your establishment. As well, there are liquor licenses specific to what type of alcoholic beverage can be sold. The ones to sell wines and beer are the least expensive to get. The ones for hard liquor are more expensive. Hard liquor is any drink that contains more than 22 1/2 per cent alcohol.

Potential difficulties

Some areas limit the number of liquor licenses that they are willing to issue. They might be able to get all the other types of licenses nightclubs need but have difficulty obtaining the liquor license. There is one alternative--buying one. There are often liquor licenses for sale in any given area. This is actually a big business since a liquor license can sell for up to £32,500.

Entertainment licenses

There are still more types of licenses nightclubs need. In many states if you want to offer any kind of live entertainment at an establishment where food or any sort of drink is offered, then it is necessary to get an entertainment license. You are allowed to play background music without having to get a permit.

What's left?

To be able to offer more at your club, there are still other types of licenses nightclubs need. Most nightclubs have a dance floor for their patrons. If you wanted to do this, you need to have a license to allow them to use it. If you have a nightclub and one of the patrons gets up to dance to the live entertainment, even by her own table, or he dances to the jukebox playing his favourite song, this is illegal, and if caught, you could lose the other licenses you require to keep your nightclub open. It means you would have to ask the person to sit down and stop dancing. If you want to stay open beyond the regular hours a nightclub is permitted to be open, you then need a cabaret license, which allows your nightclub to remain open between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Be sure that you know when to renew your licenses so no one can close your club down.

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