The nightlife setting is a risk context for violence involvement that ultimately may cause severe injuries and fatalities. Few studies have examined associations between alcohol and illicit substance use with physical violence involvement among nightlife patrons. The aim of the current study was to investigate the relative role of demographics and substance use characteristics for nightlife violence involvement among Norwegian nightlife patrons. A cross‐sectional self‐completion survey was conducted outside 12 licensed premises in Oslo (n = 1099, response rate = 76%) and each respondent's BAC level was measured by a breathalyzer and registered on the questionnaire. A total of 103 individuals (10%) reported that they had been involved in physical violence when they were consuming alcohol in the nightlife setting during the last 12 months. Uni‐variate results showed that patrons who had been involved in violence were more likely to present a BAC level above 1.00‰ than those who had not been involved. The prevalence of last year illicit substance use was overall high, especially in the violence‐involved group. The most important factors associated with violence involvement in multivariate analysis were a high frequency of last year alcohol intoxication and last year illicit substance use. Women and those with high education had a lower risk of violence involvement. The implications for preventive initiatives are that these need to focus on factors additional to alcohol restrictions. Preventive efforts targeted to specific patron groups and measures targeting patrons who are more likely to use illicit substances may hold promise. Aggr. Behav. 43:398–407, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.