license commission

Annual Entertainment License


Annual Entertainment License


Annual Entertainment License

Issued by: License Commission

Governed By: Massachusetts General Law ch. 140 sec. 181, sec. 183A & Cambridge Regulations.

Process Length: Approximately four to six weeks.

Fee: $175 hearing and advertising fee. The licensing fee starts at $110 and is on a sliding scale depending on category of entertainment.



Step 1:

The annual Entertainment License applies to automatic amusement and music machines, as well as other forms of entertainment. The applicant must obtain and complete:

  1. Annual Entertainment License application:
    the license application lists categories of entertainment such as live music, video games, jukeboxes, etc., which are to be checked off as applicable.
  2. Licensed Premises Inspection Approval form
  3. questionnaire attached to application as well as Minutes of the Board of Directors for corporate applications.

The final submission to the License Commission must also include:

  1. a floor plan designating street and number, entrances and exits, the type of establishment, and the exact location and number of machines to be licensed.
  2. a copy of the Article of Organization if the applicant is a corporation, and/or a copy of the Business Certificate (or DBA) obtainable through the City Clerk’s Office.

Step 2:

The applicant must submit the Licensed Premises Inspection Approvals form along with a floor plan to the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) for zoning approval.

Step 3:

The applicant will then submit all paperwork to the License Commission and pay a $175 hearing and newspaper advertising fee. The applicant must notify abutters identified from the City’s Assessor’s list. Notification can be done by sending abutters a copy of the newspaper advertisement by certified mail, return receipt requested, within three days of publication. The License Commission will schedule a hearing on the second or fourth Tuesday of the month. The applicant must attend the License hearing.

Step 4:

Upon approval by the License Commission, the applicant must submit the Licensed Premises Inspection Approvals form and one copy of the plan for approval from ISD’s building and wiring inspectors. However, if the applicant has a current Certificate of Occupancy, this sign-off is not required.

Step 5:

The Fire Department will automatically inspect the site based on the License Commission hearing agenda.

Step 6:

The License Commission will conduct a follow-up site visit.

Visiting City Hall

Cambridge City Hall

795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA, 02139
Ph: 617-349-4000
TTY: 617-349-4242

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Richard C. Rossi
City Manager

Lisa C. Peterson
Deputy City Manager