Needing a licence for serving alcohol in your salon or barbershop may not even cross your mind – but even if you’re just giving a complimentary glass of prosecco, if it’s alongside a paid-for service it is considered as part of the sale and therefore you need a licence.

Which licences do I need when serving alcohol in my salon or barbershop?

Get in contact with your local council if you’re thinking about serving alcohol in your salon or barbershop. They will be able to provide you with the correct advice for your local area and the application forms to start the process.

You will also need the two following licences:

A personal licence

This is a licence which authorises the salon owner/manager to sell alcohol. Once you receive your personal licence, you will become the ‘designated premises supervisor’, which means the person in charge of drinks sales.

You will also need a ‘National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders’. You can do this inexpensively on a one-day course or with an online course available from many providers. You need this to be aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities involved in the sale of alcohol.

A premises licence

This is a licence for the salon itself, which can cost between £100 and £635, depending on the rateable value of your business. You will also need to renew and pay for this licence each year.

The law - Implications of serving alcohol without a licence

If you serve alcohol without a licence the penalties can be stiff. You can be fined up to £20,000 and even sent to jail for six months.

The law - When would I not need a licence?

The only time you wouldn’t need a licence for your salon is a one-off celebration, party or charity event – most importantly when the client isn’t having a haircut or receiving any other service from you.

But nevertheless, check with your local council.

Marketing – Tell the media and press about your new licence!

If your business is based in a small town it is likely you will be one of, if not the only, salon or barbershop which offers alcohol. Use this to get some valuable publicity with a press release to your local media. This could be with a pre-Christmas party inviting customers and potential new clients to the salon.

Make the most of holidays, anniversaries of your business and the changing of seasons – from a glass of Pimms in the summer, to bubbly for celebrations, and hot spiced mulled wine for the festive season.

It’s a cost-effective and simple way to inject something different into your business and your customer service, making the client’s experience even more memorable.


  • The NHF’s Legal helpline is there to provide advice if you are thinking of introducing selling alcohol as part of your services.
  • Members of the NHF can also download free copies of NHF guides from the NHF shop or by calling us on 01234 831965. Guides include 'delivering a great client experience' and 'your salon marketing plan'.

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