A business must have a Sidewalk Café license and revocable consent if it operates a portion of a restaurant on a public sidewalk. You must be cleared of debts owed to the city before the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) can issue you a license.
New Business Acceleration Team (NBAT) assists individuals and groups opening food and beverage establishments by navigating City agency processes and reducing the time needed to open. NBAT provides client management services, an accelerated plan review process, and coordination of necessary inspections by regulatory agencies. New restaurants, bars that will serve food, bakeries, supermarkets, and butcher shops may be eligible.
Before you apply for a license, you must prepare the following:
- Current Food Service Establishment Permit OR Permit Application from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Sales Tax ID Number OR Certificate of Authority
- You must confirm with the Department of City Planningthat your proposed sidewalk café meets the zoning requirements
- You must ensure that the distance from the property line to the curb is at least 12 feet wide for the entire length of the proposed sidewalk café
- Employee Identification Number
- Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure
The following documents must be completed and submitted along with your application in order to file for a DCA License. Once you click the link, you will be directed to a PDF format where you may print and complete all of the necessary forms.
- Sidewalk Cafe Compliance Checklist
- Basic License Application
- Petition for Revocable Consent
- Substitute Form W-9
- Zero Tolerance Policy Affirmation
- Personal and Property Liability Insurance for Sidewalk Cafe
- Notarized Certification by Broker
- Letter of Notification to Required Parties click here for a sample
- Certified or Registered Mail Receipts for the letters of Notifications sent
- Notarized Affidavit Stating Letter of Notification was sent to all required parties
- (3) Photos of the property—one frontal, one left and one right side view of the proposed sidewalk café
- Scale drawings of Proposed Sidewalk Café—please note that drawings must be on 11″ x 17″ paper at minimum and 24″ x 36″ at maximum. They should include:
- Floor plan diagram at a scale no less than 1/4 inch = 1 foot. Elevation diagram showing canopies and awning details, if any.
- Plot plan, not to scale
- Building section drawing at a scale 1/4 inch = 1 foot
- Please refer to the Sidewalk Cafe and Regulations Guide
- Notarized Landowner’s Consent to Operate a Sidewalk Cafe
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Approval Letter or Application Form, if applicable
- Child Support Certification
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applying by proxy)
Please note that if you file in person, every document that has (7) before it, requires that you submit 7 copies of that document.
- Enclosed sidewalk café: An enclosed area on the public sidewalk in front of the restaurant that is constructed predominantly of light materials such as glass, plastic, or lightweight metal.
- Unenclosed sidewalk café: An outdoor area on the public sidewalk in front of the restaurant that contains removable tables and chairs.
- Small unenclosed sidewalk café: An unenclosed sidewalk café containing no more than a single row of tables and chairs next to the building. The tables and chairs can occupy no more than 4 feet, 6 inches of the public sidewalk
Here are some additional requirements that may apply to your business:
• Alcohol Dealer Registration if you plan to serve beer, liquor or wine.
• If you plan to build an enclosed sidewalk café, you must file an application for a
work permit with the Department of Buildings (DOB)
• If you plan to use a portable natural gas (not propane) heater in your unenclosed
sidewalk café, you must receive approvals from DOB and FDNY to install and
operate the heater
Additional information that you need to know after you have filed your DCA License Application:
- Additional required fees include Modification of DCA consent for all cafe types ($175) and a City Planning Fee for Enclosed Sidewalk Cafe Applicants, $55 per seat with a $1360 minimum.
- Learn what DCA inspectors look for and help avoid violations by looking through the Inspection Checklist