Night Tube services presents opportunities for London’s night-time economy

Written by Philip Somarakis

Last month saw the grand unveiling of another of Boris Johnson’s projects to make certain tube lines across Central London run 24 hours during Fridays and Saturdays. Sadiq Khan finally pushed this long awaited scheme over the line after the original announcement was made back in September 2014. We now currently have the new service operational on the Central and Victoria lines with further additions expected this autumn to the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Initial predictions were that this could lead to a £360m boost to the London night-time economy with restaurants, bars, theatres and late night venues sharing the majority of these benefits. Clearly there are great opportunities for these kinds of establishments to expand and grow their businesses based on the increased volume of customers now being able to stay out later, rather than worrying about catching the last tube home.

In order to take advantage of the increased footfall in the later hours, businesses may have to analyse and adapt their business models to cater for the new demand. Here are three ways in which we may be able to help you feel the full benefit of the night tube:

  • Changing your business model or introducing a new premises to the area
    You may want to change your current shop or fast food outlet into a restaurant or open a new bar which would entail applying to the council for a new premises licence. Any premises which sells alcohol or hot food past 11.00pm requires a premises licence and we can help you obtain such licences and any relevant planning consent.
  • Keeping your existing premises open for longer
    Restaurants, bars, theatres and late night venues will want to seize this opportunity by extending their opening hours to catch the increased late night clientele. This would involve seeking an extension of hours potentially in both planning permission and your premises licence with the local council. This can be a difficult task as many local authorities have late night policies by which time they expect the majority of premises to close. We have had great success in extending hours beyond the guideline hours that councils set and helping businesses take advantage of the late night economy.
  • Temporary late night events
    If your business is only interested in hosting an occasional late night event or have a particular event in which you want particularly late hours, there is a process whereby a business can have a number of these temporary events a year. This would be particularly relevant for special occasions such as Bank Holidays and Halloween. We have been involved in successfully applying for such temporary events for some of London’s most famous nightclubs and special events. This route can be less problematic than extending your hours but obviously you do not benefit from the permanent late hours which could be obtained.

If you would like any advice on the opportunities cited above please contact our Licensing & Gaming team on 0207 759 5100 or email

Thank you to Ben Frost, trainee solicitor in our Licensing & Gaming department, for his help in preparing this article.


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Philip Somarakis

I specialise in both alcohol and entertainment licensing and criminal litigation (dividing my time 30% licensing and 70% motoring). I have over 20 years’ experience. I was previously a Partner at Blake Lapthorn and more recently Davenport Lyons. I have appeared in over 100 contested licensing hearings before Licensing Committees and in the Magistrates Courts for clients ranging from multi-site restaurants, convenience stores, stately homes hosting music festivals, and breweries. I have successfully defended licence holders in criminal proceedings for various licensing and consumer-related offences. I am a recognised expert in motoring offences; securing acquittals for clients in speeding and drink driving cases and appearing on BBC Watchdog and Radio 5 Live. Recent experience includes:

  • Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing
  • Obtaining new premises licences for 1000 capacity venue in Hackney Acting for a national restaurant chain in licensing matters
  • Advising a supermarket/convenience store chain on due diligence and training
  • Advising a national opera on licensing law
  • Obtaining a shadow premises licence in Westminster City Council.
  • Representing a motorist arrested for drink driving who was acquitted after trial
  • Advising a driver who had failed to provide a breath specimen and was found not guilty
  • Acting for numerous individuals who have had their driving licences revoked due to visual field defects or other medical conditions
  • Acting for a client on 9 penalty points who faced three speeding offence charges by three different police forces and successfully keeping her licence.
When I have free time, I spend it running ultra marathons, reading, cooking and generally having a lot of fun. Qualifications: LLB Hons Degree Law Society Final Examinations.

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