Licensing in London

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's licensing team acts on behalf of a number of household name commercial clients, including supermarket chains, cafes and hotel groups. It acts across all areas for operators, providing support on alcohol and gambling matters for bars and clubs, as well as advising banks. The firm has advised clients such as Merlin Entertainment and Landsec in relation to large developments and also regularly advises in relation to 'shadow licences'. Associate director Jeremy Bark has significant enforcement experience, in addition to his broader hospitality and retail work. Long-serving practice leader Craig Baylis left in summer 2021 to join Kingsley Napley LLP.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Bark

Key clients


Bvlgari Hotel

Drake and Morgan

Brasserie Barco

Here East

Rosa’s Thai Cafe

Oakman Inns

Merlin Entertainments

Marriott Hotels

Giggling Squid

Work highlights

  • Acted for Tesco on numerous matters including obtaining a premises licence at the Excel centre connected with a Nightingale hospital.
  • Successfully obtained the variation of an existing premises licence at a hearing for premises located within a stress area.
  • Obtained a number of new licences for Oakman Inns around the country and pursued variations to licences where the portfolio was being refurbished and upgraded.

Keystone Law

The ‘excellent panel of licensing lawyers’ at Keystone Law offer a broad array of licensing expertise, covering common issues such as premises, personal and gaming licenses, as well as enforcement action, street trading and late-night refreshment licenses. Gareth Hughes provides a top-flight knowledge of licensing regimes, with a particular emphasis on hospitality and entertainment. He also acts on planning matters, providing his clients with a one-stop service. Andrew Wong is ‘particularly good on London restaurants, retail and hospitality developments, bars and hotels,’ and also excels advising landlords and developers. Niall McCann is also known for working with blue-chip clients and has been particularly active providing clients with Covid-19 advice. Marcus Lavell has ‘a good sense for the best points in a case,’ and James Daglish has experience with the growing CBD market.

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Hughes; Andrew Wong; Niall McCann; Marcus Lavell; James Daglish


‘Andrew Wong and Marcus Lavell are brilliant at client care, innovative thinkers, good with licensing authorities and carefully considered in all they do.’

‘Marcus Lavell offers great knowledge of the industry and a good sense for the best points in a case. Excellent on public law matters too.’

‘Gareth Hughes continues to be excellent to work with, achieving deadlines with efficiency and professionalism. His knowledge of licensing is outstanding and I would have no hesitation in working with him again or recommending him to others.’

‘Andrew Wong is exceptionally commercially minded and astute. Particularly good on London restaurants, retail and hospitality developments, bars and hotels. Approaches licensing like an entrepreneur, maximising the value of premises for clients and not simply as a lawyer. Results-driven, with many spectacular results under his belt.’

‘Their knowledge, contacts and 360 perspectives of our industry is excellent. James Daglish has the right tone with the council and me and gets the job done.’

‘Their excellent panel of licensing lawyers is increasing by the year.’

‘My go-to licensing lawyer is Niall McCann. Niall has excellent knowledge and experience of licensing, is well known to the licensing authorities and always delivers sound and timely advice. Particularly with the challenges of Covid, Niall has been wonderfully proactive about keeping us up to date with changes in the guidelines, etc which affect our restaurants.’

‘Excellent service that goes above and beyond.’

Key clients

Globalgrange Hotels Limited

Highgate group of New York

Tom Kerridge

Yamabahce Limited

Puttshack Ltd

Immerse London Ltd

Lawmans (UK) Limited

FL Holding Limited

Inception Group

The Chiswick Park Unit Trust

Club Glam Limited

The Shuffle Group Limited

Hunch Sports Ltd

Jumbo Interactive Limited

Carluccio’s Limited

OBS Hotel Limited

All the Ducks Limited

Nightlight Leisure Ltd

Filimonov Restaurants Limited

Chiltern Firehouse

Time Out Market London Limited

B&M Limited


Tate Galleries

Work highlights

  • Advised Globalgrange Hotels Limited, working with Gerald Eve on planning and licensing applications on the Holborn Gateway and a block around Southampton Row.
  • Advising Yamabahce Limited on Alan Yau OBE’s two new restaurant concepts, opening in London next year.
  • Instructed by The Chiswick Park Unit Trust to apply for a new premises licence to cover Chiswick Park for alcohol sales, music and sports events.

Poppleston Allen

With strong expertise both in London and throughout the UK, Poppleston Allen offers clients support on all forms of alcohol, premises and development licensing. The Nottingham-based firm's clients include notable national restaurants, local chains, pub companies, new experiential entertainment businesses and developers. It has been particularly notable advising on Covid-19 related issues, working closely with trade body UKHospitality to provide advice to its members on changing licensing regimes, and helping to form a coalition of businesses to create an exit strategy for hospitality in lockdown. Lisa Inzani leads the team, offering 'unrivalled knowledge of licencing departments,' advising on a number of high value, national licensing applications. The 'incredibly professional' David Inzani is also well regarded for his work on entertainment and gaming properties. Partner Clare Eames retired.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Inzani

Other key lawyers:

David Inzani; Steve Burnett


‘Poppleston Allen has unparalleled strength and depth when it comes to providing strategic, pragmatic and assured licensing support. With Poppleston Allen in our corner, we rest assured that the needs of our business will be competently and robustly met.’

‘Poppleston Allen solicitors are always a pleasure to deal with. They are engaging, show a genuine interest in our various business projects and have a wealth of licensing knowledge which is second to none. In the last year, we have worked particularly closely with David Inzani who continues to provide exceptional support and guidance.’

‘A small, communicative, knowledgeable and friendly team that remains remarkably stable.’

‘Lisa Inzani has unrivalled knowledge of licencing departments in both London & Manchester.’

‘David Inzani is incredibly professional and works at pace in detail. Quite frankly takes the stress and pressure away from me at the client.’

‘Responsive, proactive and engaged. Always seemingly managing to prioritize our business and work to demanding timelines.’

‘David Inzani understands our business and our needs very well, offers advice, manages stakeholders effectively and always delivers what we need.’

‘Lisa Inzani is a formidable business partner, leveraging her deep sector experience and extensive personal connections and to achieve the desired outcome time after time. She has helped us navigate complex and critical premises licensing matters with expert ability.’

Key clients

Bill’s Restaurants Limited


Caprice Holdings/The Birley Group.


Honest Burgers Ltd.

Shaftesbury plc

Stonegate Pub Company

wagamama Limited

Whistle Punks Axe Throwing


Work highlights

  • Advising Lafayette on obtaining a new premises licence for live music venue Lafayette in Kings Cross.
  • Advising Cote Restaurant Group Ltd in obtaining 3 new premises licences allowing for off-sales to help Cote Brasseries launch their highly successful delivery service, Cote at Home.
  • Advising Akub in obtaining a new premises licence in Chelsea at a contested hearing. This was despite 42 objections.

Thomas & Thomas Partners LLP

Known for its exceptional expertise in London, Thomas & Thomas Partners LLP acts for clients ranging from local pubs to multinational chains. Notable work includes obtaining a 60,000 person premises license for London Stadium, and advising the Battersea Power Station Development Company on phase two licensing. It has also liaised with a number of local councils, such as Westminster, Camden and Fulham, on licenses in cumulative impact areas, advised developer clients on their licensing needs, and provided advice to operators on various COVID requirements. The practice is co-led by Alun Thomas, who is particularly regarded for his work with Westminster Council, Thomas O'Maoileoin, who brings 25 years of experience as a barrister and solicitor to the practice, and Jack Spiegler, a renowned entertainment and alcohol expert.

Practice head(s):

Alun Thomas; Thoms O’Maoileoin; Jack Spiegler

Key clients

Battersea Arts Centre

British Land

Citizen M Hotels

Delfont Mackintosh Theatres


KERB Seven Dials Market


The Fat Duck

The Grovesnor Estate

The House of St Barnabas

Shaftesbury PLC



Work highlights

  • Advised London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in obtaining a new 60,000 capacity Premises Licence authorising concerts and match day activities for the occupation of West Ham Utd
  • Advising KERB Seven Dials Market in obtaining 600 capacity street food market licence in the heart of Camden’s Cumulative Impact Area for Seven Dials
  • Advised Stanhope and licensed tenants in respect of the re-development of BBC Television Centre in White City

John Gaunt & Partners

John Gaunt & Partners 'proactively engages on all licensing requirements for its client base, which includes supermarkets, cinema chains, and large events venues. Based in London, Portsmouth and Sheffield, it is known for acting across the UK for household name retailers, while also offering a local and dedicated service for London-based businesses. Tim Shield, Jon Wallsgrove and Michelle Hazlewood jointly head up the team. Shield is known as a national expert on hotels, advising both boutiques and larger chains. Wallsgrove works closely with the retail industry, while Michelle Hazlewood  is known for working with some of the largest pub and entertainment companies in the UK.

Practice head(s):

Tim Shield; Jon Wallsgrove; Michelle Hazlewood

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Gruneurt


‘John Gaunt & Partners offer a trusted professional service. They proactively engage on all licensing requirements and are always available when their services are required, delivering prompt and robust support. Recent technological development in the format of an online Personal Licence training course, exam, DBS and council applications has not only helped ensure business compliance but also improved efficiency by allowing our teams to gain personal licences without the need to attend a classroom-based course.’

‘Jon Wallsgrove is fantastic! He is very personable, professional, organised and quick to respond to any requests. You really feel in safe hands working with him.’

‘Michelle Hazlewood is always approachable, prompt and knowledgeable and helpful.’

‘The Licensing team provide a user-friendly, highly responsive and practical service. They are specialists in the legal framework and hugely experienced in all aspects of licensing.’

‘Jon Wallsgrove is very clear and a great communicator across many different teams and stakeholder groups – including store colleagues, store managers, property colleagues, compliance teams and lawyers. Jon provides support at the drop of the hat and has regularly proven that he will go the extra mile to support us. He inspires confidence with his pragmatic advice, his experience and his calm and commonsense approach.’

Key clients


Marks & Spencer’s

John Lewis

Marston’s PLC


Sodexo Ltd

Odeon Cinema Group


Liberation Group

Millennium and Copthorne Hotels


The Devonshire Group

Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew

Southern Co-op




Heritage Portfolio


Wulf & Lamb



David Lloyds Leisure

The Goodwood Estate

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Milton and Mortimer Ltd

Away Resorts

Hotel Co 51 UK

Redtooth Poker

Work highlights

  • Provided Licensing advice to Marston’s PLC in their acquisition of the S A Brains pub estate.
  • Oversaw licences for all new Premier Inn hotels across England, Wales and Scotland,  including new sites and dozens of expansions to the existing estate.
  • During 2020 the firm submitted more than 130 applications to vary licences for M&S Stores within the M25 and surrounding Boroughs.


TLT's licensing practice provides licensing support to a number of high-value restaurant groups, events companies, venues, hotels and pub companies. The team provides estate management support to  some clients, covering DPS changes, pavement licensure, and fee management. In addition, it offers strong advocacy support for reviews and contested applications. Matthew Phipps heads the practice, which works across Bristol and London. He is known for his work setting up robust due diligence systems, in addition to application support. Ewen MacGregor is also regarded as 'a very experienced and knowledgeable partner,' with over 20 years of experience advising and advocating for multi-site brands in England, Wales and Scotland.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Phipps

Other key lawyers:

Ewen MacGregor


‘Ewen MacGregor affords us knowledgeable consultation on a vast array of matters with a complex business model. He is able to understand our needs and react to fast-moving situations as well as developing creative solutions to issues.’

‘Resources are always appropriate and able to scale depending on the challenges faced.’

‘Very responsive, knowledgeable and cost-effective.’

‘Ewen MacGregor is a very experienced and knowledgeable partner, clear communicator and very responsive to our requirements.’

‘Provides expert knowledge of our sector and understand the challenges that the sector is currently experiencing. Communicative and very responsive to our requirements.’

‘Matthew Phipps has a passion for law and this passion translates into expert advice.’

Key clients

Greene King

Punch Pubs



Ambassador Theatre Group


Welcome Break

Boomtown Festival

Las Iguanas

English National Ballet

Work highlights

  • Instructed to make a series of 11 new applications for WH Smith’s premises licences at their shops in travel hubs across England and Wales
  • Advised Pizza Pilgrims in relation to licence applications in London for 4 new sites in 2020 and a dark kitchen granted without the need for hearings for Pizza Pilgrims.
  • Provided licensing advice to English National Ballet for the publicly accessible areas in the English National Ballet’s new headquarters.


Gosschalks is based in Hull but acts for a truly national roster of household name clients, including Asda, Morrisons, Cineworld and Virgin Active. Richard Taylor heads up the licensing team, which also advises public houses, hotels and major betting operators, working across England, Wales and Scotland.

Practice head(s):

Richard Taylor

Key clients

Asda Stores Ltd

T J Morris Ltd (Home Bargains)

Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC

Ei Group Ltd (now part of Stonegate Pub Co)

Cineworld Cinemas Ltd

Virgin Active Ltd

Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd

Curzon Cinemas Ltd

Wellington Pub Company PLC

Atlas Hotels Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Morrisons on extensions to its opening and alcohol sales hours in the run-up to Christmas 2020.
  • Following the outbreak of COVID, Morrisons accelerated the roll-out of its home delivery service in Scotland but needed permission from the Licensing Boards to offer these facilities before licence variation applications to specify this had been granted. Permission was granted for all stores with the applications to vary the licences subsequently submitted and granted.
  • Advised Asda on the development and implementation of on-line learning, assessment and personal licence application software to enable Asda colleagues to undergo training and examinations online and have a personal licence.


Ince's team has significant experience working with alcohol and entertainment businesses, buoyed by its solicitors' significant in house experience. Philip Somarakis, who primarily works in alcohol licensing, leads the practice, with particular experience sourcing licenses in high-stress areas and defending contested applications. Andrew Cotton is also regarded for his experience with gaming businesses. They are supported by Joanna Onisiforou, who covers the full range of licensing matters including pubs, clubs, restaurants, large property-owning companies and various landlords.

Practice head(s):

Philip Somarakis


‘Joanna Onisiforou was very professional and attentive through out my dealings with her. I will surely recommend Ince to anyone that needs legal support.’

‘Philip Somarakis and Joanna Onisiforou deserve special mention for the quality of their work, responsiveness and fee transparency.’

‘Philip Somarakis is our licensing lawyer and is a great asset to have for our organisation.’

‘Very professional and supportive.’

‘Very accessible, responsive with excellent insight into the premises licensing industry.’

Key clients

Churchill Group Limited

SMD Concepts Limited


Arabica Kings Cross Limited

Midcounties Co-operative Limited

Masq London Ltd


Samadin Limited

Patricia Ironside

M’Bar’e Limited


Tapas Revolution

Work highlights

  • Advised the London School of Economics on obtaining a new premises licence for outdoor event space for LSE’s Houghton Street Campus.
  • Advising Churchill Group Limited in  dealing with a variation of a premises licence for a 5* luxury hotel in Central London.
  • Advised multiple clients during the pandemic on how they could operate in compliance with COVID restrictions, new legislation and government guidance.

Pinsent Masons LLP

In addition to top-quality alcohol, entertainment and civic government licensing, the team at Pinsent Masons LLP is known for working with the broader firm to provide licensing support in conjunction with real estate, restructuring and corporate advice. Its clients include name brand retailers and large festivals. Audrey Ferrie leads the team and is known for her work in gambling licensure, representing a number of high-value companies.

Practice head(s):

Audrey Ferrie


‘With Pinsent Masons, you know you are going to receive the best service available, would not use any other firm.’

‘Great system for aiding collaboration and keeping up-to-date with the latest information. Really good process for raising matters and managing financials.’


Key clients

Harrods Limited

Adil Group

Mint Festival Limited

Headrow House Limited

Salt & Foam Limited

Staple Arrangement Limited

Harrods Beauty Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented Harrods in relation to the new Lower Ground Floor Baccarat Bar application.
  • Advised Adil Group on a range of premises licence applications, including Taco Bells in Wood Green London, Milton Keynes and a KFC in Peterlee.
  • Submitted new premises license for up to 20,000 people for annual techno-dance music festival Mint Festival.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP is regarded nationally for its work advising supermarkets and petrol forecourt operators, in addition to providing on-trade support to a number of businesses. Its solicitors are also experienced in contentious matters, offering representation at council hearings and negotiating frequently with officers. It has also started representing residents in cases where they wish to oppose a new license. Robert Botkai heads the team, bringing nearly 30 years worth of licensing experience to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Robert Botkai

Woods Whur

With offices in Leeds, Newcastle and London, Woods Whur is well regarded by clients for offering 'unparalleled professionalism, dedication and specialist knowledge,' of licensing law. It has particularly significant experience with nightclubs, representing well-known clients such as Ministry of Sound and Printworks. Beyond that, it offers both administrative advice and acts in court hearings. Andrew Woods and Paddy Whur lead the practice. Also recommended is Luke Elford, a hospitality expert described by one client as 'technically the very best solicitor in London.'

Practice head(s):

Andrew Woods; Paddy Whur

Other key lawyers:

Luke Elford


‘Woods Whur combine unparalleled professionalism, dedication and specialist knowledge, with the rare ability in legal circles to act like decent, compassionate human beings. Ensuring a positive outcome for the client always ranks higher than the desire to generate an invoice.’

‘Luke Elford is technically the very best [licensing]solicitor in London in my opinion. He knows the industry inside out.  His memory is phenomenal and encyclopaedic. He has a burning ambition to be the best in his chosen field of licensing. He will go the extra mile for his clients, leaving no stone unturned.’

‘Woods Whur are very personable and wise, with a wealth of experience behind them. They have a great ability to understand what is required from the client and  then to focus on delivery. Their easygoing charm and integrity are especially in abundance when they are able to deliver complex applications to responsible authorities. They always get us the right results without onerous conditions.’

‘Andrew Woods is always at the end of the phone. He has steered my strategies into winning positions due to his wealth of experience and wisdom. I need to work with someone who “gets” the industry, something not always forthcoming with other legal firms and I appreciate the diligence he applies to each job, small or large.’

‘A superb client-list that results from their first class licensing service. Vastly experienced and well-connected partners.’

‘Luke Elford has been a fantastic licensing lawyer. His realistic assessment of projects, his industry knowledge and his ability to give an accurate assesment of costs and outcomes, without getting too involved in the detail, is exceptional.’

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs offers a strong national licensing practice with a number of specialisms. It is known for its work on behalf of hotel operators and for licensed units at various UK transport hubs. Stephanie Perraton leads the team, covering licensing, alcohol and night food sales. Director Nicola Smith is also well regarded and has expertise in food and product law.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Perraton

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Smith


‘We work with Squire Patton Boggs on licensing. Knowledge and offering practical solutions to problems stand out as being strengths.’

‘The balance of being easy to do business with along with a straightforward honest evaluation of situations are the main differentials.’

‘Strength in depth. Always available. Down to earth. Diligent and dedicated.’

‘Stephanie Perraton and Nicola Smith are just brilliant. So friendly and approachable. They put you at ease and explain everything in easy-to-understand lay-person’s terminology. Yet, they are super-competent and absolutely excellent at the technical, legal aspects.’

Key clients

Select Service Partner Limited

One Stop Stores Limited

Jurys Inns


RBH Management

InterContinental Hotels Group

Shiva Hotels

4 C Hotels – Minories LLP (new client)

London Portman Hotel Limited (new client)

Kaleidoscope Bird Limited (new client)

Work highlights

  • Providing strategic advice and dealing with all required applications for Select Service Partner’s entire licensed estate.
  • Representing One Stop Stores in relation to all contested applications and also instructed to deal with the processing of new licence applications.
  • Handle all licence applications for Jurys Hotel Management, including a number of new licences and substantial variations to existing licences.