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A Sidewalk Café Permit and a Sidewalk Café Licence are required to operate a Sidewalk Café.

About the Service

Sidewalk Cafés, Restaurants and Outdoor Patios add life and vitality to the downtown core, business districts and main streets.

To promote a vibrant café culture and transform streets into gathering spaces, the City is encouraging the use of City sidewalks for sidewalk cafés, subject to conformance with appropriate design standards and guidelines.

The Sidewalk Café Permit and Licence shows the public that the business owner is operating within the guidelines of the City of Edmonton.

If you are a business owner or operator that would like to establish or renew a sidewalk café, it is recommended that you become familiar with the application types and processes, submission requirements, café guidelines and standards, and required approvals.

Sidewalk Café and Outdoor Patio Definitions

The following definitions may help clarify the type of outdoor space you propose to develop.

An Outdoor Patio is an open or partially covered seating area with table services accessed from an existing eating or drinking establishment located on private property. Establishment of a commercial outdoor patio is handled through the standard development permit process by Development Services.

A Sidewalk Café is essentially an extension of the uses of an approved licensed restaurant, specialty food and/or beverage services with provision of additional seating onto a designated area within the adjacent public road right-of-way that includes sidewalks, boulevards, roadways and alleyways.

Minor and Major Sidewalk Cafés

To deal more effectively with the differences in scale, operation and requirements, the City is proposing two types of sidewalk cafés, a Minor Sidewalk Café and a Major Sidewalk Café, each with its own functional characteristics and processes.

A Minor Sidewalk Café consists of a maximum of 8 seats located adjacent to a commercial building with a valid business licence, or closer to the curb with adequate setbacks.

No alcohol is permitted within the café area and additional parking is not required. The applicant must apply for a Minor Sidewalk Café Permit in accordance with the submission requirements, including a fully dimensioned site plan.

The Café Permit is valid for five years and the café is allowed to operate year round.

A Major Sidewalk Walk Café provides table service, and alcoholic beverages may be served with a permit extension from Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).

The café is allowed to operate year-round, subject to operational procedures and standards outlined in the Sidewalk Café Guidelines, and the required Sidewalk Café Licence.

Applicants should also review the Boardwalk Style Sidewalk Cafe Site Plan Example and Major Sidewalk Cafe Site Plan Example for details on setbacks and table layouts.

The Sidewalk Café Permit and Licence are both valid for five years. Additional parking, loading and unloading spaces, are not required.

How Do I Obtain the Service?

Temporary Outdoor Patios, Sidewalk Cafes and Retail Guidelines

Rules around temporary patios, sidewalk cafes and outdoor retail expansions are relaxed so you can create more space for your customers in alignment with Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines. Until the end of 2020, you have the option to expand your patio or retail space by following a set of guidelines and signing a declaration form. Read the guidelines and proceed with signing the declaration form.

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