Sidewalk Cafés

A sidewalk café license and revocable consent to use public space, renewable every two years from the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), are required to operate a portion of a restaurant on a public sidewalk.

Learn more about applying for a sidewalk café license

Significant development is occurring in Community District 2 and the community board is receiving notification of increased numbers of sidewalk café applications to DCA. The community board reviews all new licenses but reserves the right to hold a public hearing or conduct other review of license renewals. In order to properly consider the applications and treat all applicants equitably, the community board has instituted a review protocol.

Review Protocol

The community board's review procedure begins after it receives copies of the application and architectural drawings from DCA. A letter is mailed to the applicant, with a copy to applicant's architect or other representative, stating that a public hearing will be held prior to the next meeting of the community board's Transportation and Public Safety Committee. The committee generally meets at 6:00 pm on the third Tuesday of the month.

The applicant, or its representative, is requested to post a notice, enclosed with the letter, stating who the applicant is, the location of the establishment, and the date, time and place of the public hearing. In addition, the district office sends a copy of the public hearing notice to the people on its distribution lists, including the local and daily media.

Download the public hearing notice (Word)

A sidewalk café questionnaire is enclosed with the letter, which must be completed in full prior to the committee meeting. The questionnaire asks for ownership and contact information, the type of application submitted, seating capacity both inside and outside the establishment, and the location of all existing sidewalk cafés in the area. The applicant, or its representative, is requested to bring 15 copies of the completed questionnaire to the meeting.

The applicant, or its representative, is also requested to bring photographs and schematics of both the inside and outside of the establishment, floor plans and petitions of support from residents in the immediate vicinity of the establishment.

DCA provides community boards with 45 days to review and make its determination on sidewalk café licenses. Therefore, applicants who are not prepared to appear at the community board's public hearing must arrange to have the DCA hearing postponed. Failure to do so may result in Community Board 2 recommending DCA disapprove the application.