Good evening. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today. I need some more information from you please.
Whilst it’s a good idea, it’s been tried before for a whole variety of different things. The one that springs to mind goes back as far as VAT being put on hot food.
He gave the chips away for free and charge 3 pounds for the salt. Salt doesn’t attract VAT because it’s cold. He got prosecuted successfully.
The only definitive answer for this will come from the licensing department of the local authority because, along with the police, it is ultimately them who prosecute it and, if you blatantly break the rules, you stand to lose your personal licence and premises licence. To be honest, it is simply not worth doing it.
By all means wring the licensing department and ask them for a second opinion but I think that what you are doing is extremely risky. Remember also that if the police get wind that you are charging a fixed fee and drink all you like, they are likely to come round quick sticks.
I know that you will be alerting the local authority by telling them what you intend to do and asking the licensing department whether it’s okay or not but ultimately, the decision comes from them and if they say it’s not, then it’s not. However, even before you make the telephone call, I can tell you that the answer will be no. If it was that easy, everyone would do it.
People have also tried giving the beer away for free and charging for the hire of the glass. That doesn’t work either.
It’s also no use going on bended knee to the local authority licensing department because as you are aware, you have to give 10 days notice.
I’m sorry, I appreciate that this is not the answer you wanted but nonetheless, does it answer the question? Can I answer any specific points arising from this?
Please do not forget to rate my answer positively so that I get credit for my time today. Although you may get the impression the thread closes after rating, it does not, it stays open and I am able to answer any follow-up questions on this which you may have.