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How to get an annual non-live entertainment license

How to get an annual non-live entertainment license

You can get a new license, make a renewal, or change an existing license.

Step
1

Before you get started

You must get a license for certain events. You'll need to apply for a license if:

  • You have a Common Victualler or Alcohol license and are hosting a public event.
  • You're hosting a public event and you plan to charge an admission fee.
  • You're hosting a free public event, but patrons need to pay for certain activities with coins, like an arcade.

Public events are considered “non-live” if they have any of the following types of entertainment:

  • radios, audio devices (like an iPod), or jukeboxes
  • TVs or monitors less than 27 inches and used for entertainment
  • widescreen TVs bigger than 27 inches, or
  • dartboards, ping pong tables, or any other type of non-live entertainment.  

You can get more detailed information about regulations from this City booklet. Before you apply, you also need to make sure to pay any outstanding bills with the City.

Step
2

Get your documents together

Print and complete the application for a non-live event. You’ll also need to include the following documents:

  • an Inspection Certificate
  • a Place of Assembly Permit if your location can fit more than 50 people
  • a Business Certificate (which is also known as a d/b/a certificate)
  • your current Alcohol license or Common Victualler License, and
  • articles of Organization of the Corporation.

You'll need to file a different application for coin-controlled automatic amusement devices (like arcade games). We may also ask you for additional documents after we process your application.

The application fee depends on the size and type of event you’re holding. To get an idea of what it costs to apply, you can view a list of common fees. We take certified checks, money orders, or credit or debit cards.

Step
3

Give us your application

Bring or mail your completed application, documents, and payment to:

  • Consumer Affairs and Licensing
  • 1 City Hall Square, Room 817
  • Boston, MA 02215

You can only make your payment by mail with a certified check or a money order.

Step
4

Wait for our Response

We will let you know about your application in three to four weeks. We may also schedule a hearing with you after getting your application.

The fee for a hearing is $100, and you need to pay it before the date of the hearing. Both you and the person who runs the venue where you’re holding your event must go to the hearing.

Step
1

Before you get started

If you have an annual non-live entertainment license and want to make a change to it, you need to file an amendment. Changes to a license include:

  • an increase in capacity
  • a change in the type of entertainment
  • the adding or removal of entertainment
  • a change in hours or in your business name, or
  • other changes that affect your license.

Please note: If your business has a new owner, you’ll need to file a new application. 

Step
2

Get your documents together

Print out and complete the general application to amend your license. Make sure to give us a description of the change and the reason for it.

There are also some more forms you need to fill out if they apply to your situation:

  • If the manager of your business has changed, you need to complete the Change of Manager form. You may need to attend a hearing for this change.
  • If the corporate officers of your business have changed, please complete the Change of Corporate Officers form.
  • If the name of your business has changed, you need to complete the Change of Name or D/B/A form. You need to include a current copy of your Alcohol or Victualler license with this change, and may have to attend a hearing.   

To change your license, the application fee is $35. We take certified checks, money orders, or credit or debit cards.

Step
3

Give us your application

Bring or mail your completed application, documents, and payment to:

  • Consumer Affairs and Licensing
  • 1 City Hall Square, Room 817
  • Boston, MA 02215

You can only make your payment by mail with a certified check or a money order.

Step
4

Wait for our Response

We will let you know about your application in three to four weeks. We may also schedule a hearing with you after getting your application.

The fee for a hearing is $100, and you need to pay it before the date of the hearing. Both you and the person who runs the venue where you’re holding your event must go to the hearing.

Step
1

We send you a renewal notice

We mail renewal notices at the end of October. If you didn’t receive the notice, call us at 617-635-4165.

You have until the end of November to complete and return your renewal. 

Step
2

Complete your renewal application

Your renewal packet will include an application for you to complete and give to us. Please follow the instructions. The packet has other documents you need to fill out, including:

  • a fire safety checklist
  • a security staff questionnaire, and
  • wage theft forms.

The renewal application fee is $35. We take certified checks, money orders, or credit or debit cards.

Step
3

Give us your application

Bring or mail your completed application, documents, and payment to:

  • Consumer Affairs and Licensing
  • 1 City Hall Square, Room 817
  • Boston, MA 02215

You can only make your payment by mail with a certified check or a money order.

Contact:
Consumer Affairs and Licensing
1 City Hall Square
Room 817
Boston, MA 02201-2039
United States
Questions?

Call us at 617-635-4165.

Safety

Learn the safety guidelines for entertainment events. We've also created a safety checklist.