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Definition of a Club

Definition of a Club


For the purposes of CAMRA’s definition:

  • Clubs are private members’ Clubs.
  • Clubs are operated and governed for the benefit of their members.
  • Any surpluses are reinvested for the benefit of the membership.

Some other key points that branches should note are:

  • Members may or may not have to pay a membership fee to join.
  • Most Clubs allow guest members (an entry fee may be charged.).
  • Clubs may operate under a full premises licence, or a clubs premises certificate or, in some cases, both types of licence.

Main Categories of Clubs include:

  • Social Clubs
  • Working Men’s Clubs
  • Ex Servicemen’s Clubs
  • Political Clubs
  • Sports Clubs (e.g. Cricket, Rugby, Football, Golf, Bowling, Sailing, Tennis, Sports Supporters Clubs.)
  • Religious Clubs
  • Student Unions



  • Licensed premises that might have the word ‘club’ in their name, but which are not governed by a membership and whose profits are not used for the members’ benefit are not clubs.
  • Clubs are private members’ clubs, operated for the benefit of their members, whilst the premises may not be owned by the members. Operated means that the operations of the club is governed by its members, typically a committee, although the actual running of the club may be performed by salaried staff, e.g. a club steward and a team of bar staff.
  • Commercial sports centres such as leisure centres should be considered as such rather than as private members’ clubs.
  • Proprietary clubs owned by an individual or business with a view to making a profit, rather than existing for the benefit of their members, fall within the category of ‘Other Drinking Establishments’.

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