The City is rolling out a process for restaurants to offer safe, efficient, and accessible outdoor dining either on sidewalks or parking lanes! 

Outdoor dining has been a mainstay of Philadelphia’s dining culture for decades, from the sidewalk awnings of cheesesteak shops and water ice stands to the cafe tables and shade umbrellas of upscale restaurants. Before the spring of 2020, Philadelphia’s Outdoor Dining Program was limited to sidewalk cafes, a type of license that increases allowable seating capacity for restaurants located in specific parts of the city.

Looking back

In 2020, the City of Philadelphia launched emergency outdoor dining allowances to support the restaurant industry when COVID-19 public health restrictions limited indoor seating. The temporary measures helped more than 750 restaurants earn much needed revenue and retain jobs during a time of crisis.  The Emergency Outdoor Dining Program expired on December 31, 2021. 

In Spring of 2021, City Council enacted Bill 210776, to establish where in the City streeteries could operate, their placement in the public right-of-way with safety measures.

Looking forward

The City is now transitioning from its emergency program to a permanent program, with regulations that build off of Bill 210776. The City considered input from restaurant owners, residents, and the lessons learned by other cities over the past two and a half years in the creation of the permanent Outdoor Dining Program.

On October 19, the City of Philadelphia announced details regarding its outdoor dining program including the permanent regulations for Streeteries, a type of outdoor dining authorized in the parking lane on city streets. 

Streetery dining is a privilege for restaurants as an enhancement to their seating capacity. The Streetery regulations were diligently developed at the forefront of a complex interagency planning process that balances the needs of the city’s right-of-way and all of its public users.

Types of outdoor dining licenses

The City of Philadelphia offers two outdoor dining licensing options for eligible restaurants:

    1. Sidewalk Cafe is a type of outdoor dining to place seating on the public sidewalk outside of an eligible restaurant. Restaurants interested in establishing Sidewalk Cafes need to have a Sidewalk Cafe License. Learn how to apply online.
    2. Streetery is a type of outdoor dining to occupy a designated portion of the parking lane on authorized city streets in front of an eligible restaurant for their outdoor dining operations. Streetery includes provisions for furniture, certain structures, shelters and enclosures, platforms and crash-worthy protective barriers. More information is available below.

Note: The City strongly recommends that business owners explore the eligibility requirements and design standards of both outdoor dining options either in the parking lane or sidewalk before making any investments.

Businesses currently operating streeteries that are hazardous, blocking a travel lane or abandoned should be removed immediately. Streeteries that are required to move for right-of-way maintenance will be notified by letter from the Streets Department. All unlicensed streetery set-ups must also be removed beginning January 9, 2023. All streeteries will need to have a new Streetery License

Status of Streetery application process

The Streets Department Prerequisite Approval application for Streetery License is available starting Tuesday, November 15. This application is for eating establishments that primarily prepare food for sale to customers who intend on consuming their meals on its premises in authorized outdoor locations.

Restaurants will need to complete two applications to be considered for a Streetery license based on the permanent regulations:

  1. Department of Streets Streetery Prerequisite Approval application
  2. Department of Licenses & Inspections Streetery License application

Before applying, click here to learn if your location is eligible for a streetery.

The Streets Department must approve the site plan and location before applicants can submit the licensure application. Streetery Licenses must be renewed annually through the eCLIPSE system, which is the Department of Licenses and Inspections online licensing tool. 

Streetery license guide

The following information is required for eligible outdoor dining operations:

The Streetery guide available below provides further details on eligible locations, design options, site guidelines, and licensure application requirements for Streetery licenses. 

We’re here to help

Attend the Philadelphia Outdoor Dining Program – Info Sessions:

Missed the info sessions?

Business services managers speak many languages and can offer one-on-one guidance. Business owners with questions about applying for or operating outdoor dining can contact the Department of Commerce’s Office of Business Services via email business@phila.gov or call 215-683-2100. Residents may call 3-1-1 to report businesses conducting activities related to outdoor dining that appear to be unsafe.

If you speak another language, assistance services are available to you. Call 3-1-1.

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Restaurants should carefully review the guide before making any investments.