As of 12/31/22, the City of Philadelphia did not renew the temporary sidewalk cafe license that allowed the restaurants during the pandemic to expand their activity outside in the street or parking spaces.

We have been getting consultations on what it is potential the next step if I still want to serve my customers outside. The short answer is that there is a process to request a permanent sidewalk cafe license but it requires following a few steps that I will list below from their website (keep in mind, there might be additional requirements when you apply for it).

1 – Gather required materials.
  • A copy of an accepted plot plan. The minimum required scale for plot plans is ¼ inch=1 inch.
    • All cafe equipment must fit within cafe encroachment boundaries.
    • The plot plan must include the intersection cards from the City Plans Unit. You can get copies of the cards by visiting room 880 in City Hall.
  • A copy of a notarized permission letter from the property owner (not needed for temporary events).
  • A copy of three photos of the proposed cafe area showing the entire sidewalk. The three photos should show a perpendicular, left horizontal, and right horizontal view.
  • Completed and signed cafe application form, typewritten or printed with an attached business card.
  • A copy of the current Liquor License (if you plan to serve liquor).
  • A copy of the current insurance certificate.
2 – Bring these documents to the Department of Streets’ Right-of-Way Unit for a review of all application documents.
3 – The Department of Streets will complete a field inspection of the site.
4 – If the Department of Streets finds the site acceptable, they will prepare a package and send it to the Law Department. They will also prepare and send a package to the Liquor Control Board, if needed.
5 – After receiving the package, the Law Department will contact the applicant to sign the agreement.
6 – When both parties have signed the documents, the Law Department will send a copy of the agreement to the Right-of-Way Unit.
7 – The Right-of-Way Unit will notify the applicant when the application has been approved.
8 – Get your license in eCLIPSE


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