Get a Place of Entertainment permit for your business

You need a Place of Entertainment (POE) permit if you want to host entertainment on a regular basis, like at a venue, concert hall or nightclub.

What to do

Only properties in certain parts of the city are allowed to apply for a POE permit.

About Place of Entertainment (POE) permits

You need a Place of Entertainment (POE) permit if you:

  • Have entertainment at your business on an ongoing basis
  • Entertainment is a primary use for the business, like a live music venue, nightclub, concert hall, or special event venue
  • Have customers or members
  • Have indoor live performances until 2 am

Your entertainment can be indoor or outdoor.

If you only want to have entertainment until 10 or 11 pm and entertainment is a secondary use of your business, you can apply for a Limited Live Performance (LLP) Permit.

Entertainment includes any of the following:

  • Musician
  • Band
  • DJ
  • Theater performance
  • Dance performance
  • Comedy show
  • Drag show
  • Karaoke
  • Fashion show
  • Poetry reading

See how the code defines entertainment.

You don’t need an entertainment permit if you have:

  • Indoor pre-recorded music that doesn’t involve a live performer, like a song playlist or a jukebox
  • An unamplified solo performer that’s performing indoors at a business before 10pm
  • Indoor trivia
  • Indoor magic shows
  • Indoor music lessons

1. Check to see if you can apply

Email our Deputy Director at kaitlyn.azevedo@sfgov.org to find out if you can get a permit for your location, depending on zoning rules.

Include the following information in your email:

  • Your business name
  • Your business address
  • Your contact info
  • Types of entertainment and amplified sound
  • Whether you plan to have indoor entertainment, outdoor entertainment/amplified sound, or both
  • Proposed hours of entertainment, including the start time and end time
  • If you are planning to have pool tables or mechanical games

Wait for further instructions telling you if you can apply.

If you are a new business, you should have a lease agreement or temporary liquor license before applying.

2. Submit your application

You must email us before you apply. You may be required to visit the Planning Information Counter and fill out the Planning affidavit form before completing the application. We will give you instructions on how to fill out the form in the email.

Get your documents ready

We will ask you for:

You may need to include these documents in your application: 

You must email us before you apply. And you may be required to visit the Planning Information Counter before completing the application.

 

Applying does not guarantee you will get a permit. We will contact you if there is an issue with your application. For example, if you have a conviction history, we may ask you to provide more information about it.

3. Attend a meeting

You'll meet with our Deputy Director. At this in-take meeting we will review the application in full with you and go over the next steps.

4. Pay the application fee

Pay online with a credit card or electronic check.

You can also pay by check or money order. Make payable to “City and County of San Francisco.” 


We collect your permit application fee. Fees are updated every July. 

The Treasurer and Tax Collector bills you separately for the annual license fee.

5. Let your neighbors know

We send your application packet to City departments for their review and approval. These include the Planning Department, Police Department, and any other relevant City departments, depending on the permit you are applying for. 

The Entertainment Commission will schedule a hearing date. The Commission meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. 

You will need to do outreach to your neighbors as discussed at your in-take meeting and post our yellow public notice at your location for 30 days. 

 

6. Schedule any required inspections

An inspection from other departments may be required. You will be given instructions at your in-take meeting.

Check inspection fees.

7. Attend the hearing

You will need to attend a public hearing.

Commissioners may ask you questions about your plans at the hearing. They will vote on whether to approve your permit. 

If you still have inspections that need to happen, you must pass those inspections before receiving the permit

8. Post your permit

We will email you a PDF of your permit.

You must post it at your business location. Then you can begin holding the activity that the entertainment permit allows. 

Renew your entertainment permit every year by paying the annual license fee to the Treasurer and Tax Collector.

Get help

Entertainment Commission

49 South Van Ness
Suite 1482
San Francisco, CA 94103

This is our office but it's not open to the public. The Permit Center is accepting walk-ins. 

Permit Center (Entertainment Commission)

49 South Van Ness
2nd floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Open to the public Tuesdays, 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm

Phone

Kaitlyn Azevedo, Deputy Director

Last updated January 11, 2023