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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?

Depending on the type of sidewalk café proposed, the following approvals may be required from other agencies with separate fees and approval processes.

You are encouraged to contact the agencies to become familiar with their submission requirements and timelines.

Required Approvals

  1. Sidewalk Café Permit: Operation of a Sidewalk Café requires a Sidewalk Café Permit from Development Services to extend the use of the adjacent approved eating or drinking establishment and table services onto public property.
  2. Building Permit: A Building Permit may be applied for when there is construction required to accommodate the Sidewalk Café, including exterior alterations to the building, attached canopies, decks, and boardwalks within the café area.
  3. Sidewalk Café Licence: A separate Sidewalk Café Licence legal agreement is required from Transportation Operations for the use of public rights-of-way for a Major Sidewalk Café. Additional fees and specific performance conditions will be required as part of this approval. This agreement is typically executed once the Sidewalk Café Permit is approved.
  4. Liquor Licence: An Outdoor Café Permit is required if alcohol beverages will be served in the café area. This will be granted as an extension of the abutting property existing liquor licence. The licence is granted by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) upon confirmation of the City’s approval of the sidewalk café, and subject to meeting AGLC liquor regulations.
  5. Food Services Permit: A Food Handling Permit from Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be required.

Application Procedure

To apply for a Sidewalk Café Permit and Licence complete the Application Form and Checklist. Ensure you provide all the submission requirements listed in the checklist.

The following framework outlines the proposed procedures, requirements and guidelines to allow Sidewalk Cafés to be established within public road right-of-ways, in areas designated or suitable for enhanced pedestrian activity and revitalization.

An applicant for a Sidewalk Café Permit, whether major or minor, is advised to:

  1. Clarify City Requirements
    • Become familiar with the
      Sidewalk Café Guidelines
    • Collect the documentation required to support the application, such as the site plan, a valid Business Licence, a letter of authorization from the property owner and evidence or commitment of Liability Insurance assigning the City as an additional insured.
    • Understand the Sidewalk Café Licence legal agreement requirements and limitations from Transportation Operations, particularly location and setback requirements for Major Sidewalk Cafes.
    • 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.
  2. Pre-application Consultation/Meeting
    • If you have questions about the application process a member of our staff can meet with you in our offices to discuss your proposed project and address any issues before you submit your application. This will help ensure a timely review and decision. No fees will be charged for this consultation.
  3. Submission Requirements
    • Submit a complete and signed Sidewalk Café Application Form and Checklist to Development Services, with the applicable fees, plans and requirements.

If exterior alterations to the building, new awning, canopy or deck are planned, or attachment to the adjacent building is proposed, a Building Permit Application should be submitted, along with the application for a Sidewalk Café Permit.

Outside Agencies Approval

In addition to the approval of a Sidewalk Café Permit and Licence, applicants are responsible for applying to Alberta Health Services and Alberta Gaming Liquor Commission to formally submit Applications for a Food Handling Permit and a Liquor Licence Extension, respectively.

Renewal of Sidewalk Café Permits and Licences

Renewal of a Sidewalk Café Permit and Sidewalk Café Licence is required every 5 years.

Any proposed changes to the approved sidewalk café area, or change from a Minor to a Major Sidewalk Café, require a new Sidewalk Café Permit application and Sidewalk Café Licence.

A change in business ownership to an approved sidewalk café also requires a new Sidewalk Café Licence with applicable fees.

Performance and Enforcement

Applicants must adhere to the guidelines, standards and performance expectations in the approval of the sidewalk café.

Operators who default in the performance of any obligations in the approvals may have their permit and licence rescinded if they fail to rectify the situation. Enforcement measures may be initiated by the City.


2020 Fees

Effective January 1, 2020

For Sidewalk Café Permit Applications: $528/5 years

Contact the City About This Service

Edmonton Service Centre

2nd Floor, 10111 104 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB  T5J 0J4

Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday
8am to 4:30pm

Contact us online


In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

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