Business & self-employment

Get a Sidewalk Cafe License

Service overview

You need a Sidewalk Cafe License to place seating on the public sidewalk outside a bar or restaurant.

Who

Business owners or their agents can apply for this license.

Requirements

Other licenses and registrations

Insurance

Liability insurance: $1,000,000 comprehensive general liability insurance including contractual liability insurance

Tax compliance

Must be current on all taxes

Where and when

Right-of-Way Unit

1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Room 940
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Online

Use the eCLIPSE system.

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

License fee
$180

There is a non-refundable application fee of $20, which is applied toward the balance of license fee. You must pay the balance once your application has been approved.

Renewal fee
$180

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.

How

To get your license:

1
Gather required materials.
  • Seven copies of accepted plot plans. 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.
  • Seven copies of a notarized permission letter from the property owner (not needed for temporary events).
  • Seven copies 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.
  • Seven copies of the current Liquor License (if you plan to serve liquor).
  • Seven copies 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

To get the license, the applicant can submit the approved application and proof of insurance online using eCLIPSE or to the License Permit Center counter with payment.

Renewal requirements

This license must be renewed annually

  • Renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center

Required for renewal:

  • Must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes
  • Current certificate of Liability insurance ($1,000,000 comprehensive general liability insurance including contractual liability insurance)
  • Valid email address

Forms & instructions


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