Chicago's Sidewalk Cafe and Outdoor Patio Seasons are Coming

chicago sidewalk and outdoor patio

Even though it's freezing outside, spring is coming soon. Time to start thinking about Sidewalk Cafes and Outdoor Patios for 2014. 

A Sidewalk Cafe in the City of Chicago is legally different than an Outdoor Patio. Each comes with its own set of requirements and quirks.

A Sidewalk Cafe permit allows a tavern or restaurant to serve food and alcohol outside of the establishment and on the city sidewalk. In order to do that, the business owner must get a permit from the City to use the public way for his or her own use. Those permits must be applied for each year and the season runs from March 1 through December 1 (some people must like eating in the freezing cold).

An Outdoor Patio is different. An Outdoor Patio is a type of liquor license that allows the licensee to serve alcohol in a privately owned outdoor location. This type of license used to be called a Beer Garden license. Like other liquor licenses, an Outdoor Patio license is good for 2 years.

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by Daniel Rubinow, Principal Attorney

License Law Group


Daniel Rubinow