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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.

Last updated: 9/26/17
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
  • dart boards, 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 and documents to:

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

We will mail you an invoice for your license after it's approved. By mail, we only accept business checks, certified checks, or money orders. You can pay by credit card by visiting Boston City Hall, Room 817.

Step
4

Wait for our response

We will let you know about your application in three to four weeks.

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 of manager*
  • a change of your corporate name or officers*
  • 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 will need to file a new application. Entertainment licenses are non-transferrable. 

*The Licensing Board must approve your amendments. These changes also need to be amended on your Common Victualler or Alcohol Beverage license before your Entertainment License amendments may be approved.

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:

To change your license, the application fee is $35 per change. If you are changing the entertainment categories or capacity, you may be subject to additional fees. We take certified checks, business checks, money orders, credit cards, or debit cards.

Step
3

Give us your application

Bring or mail your completed application and documents to:

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

We will mail you an invoice for your license after it's approved. By mail, we only accept business checks, certified checks, or money orders. You can pay by credit card by visiting Boston City Hall, Room 817.

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. 

Step
1

We send you a renewal notice

We mail renewal application packets at the end of October. If you do not receive your renewal packet by the first week of November, please call us at 617-635-4165.

You have until the end of November to complete and return your renewal application without a late fee penalty.

Step
2

Complete your renewal application

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

You will need to gather and submit copies of other documents that are not included in the packet, including:

We created a detailed checklist to help you gather your documents. The renewal application fee is $35 in addition to your entertainment fee. We take certified or business checks, money orders, credit cards (No American Express), or debit cards. 

Step
3

Give us your application

Bring your completed application, documents, and payment to:

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

Please keep in mind:

We don't accept renewal applications through the mail at this time.

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.