Sidewalk Cafes or Patios

Get the application here.

Application Process

Bring the application to the 43rd Ward office for approval. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection drafts an ordinance for introduction by the Alderman to the Chicago City Council. Please submit your application as soon as possible because the City Council meets once a month.

Neighborhood Group Approval

Neighborhood groups have requested that their membership review new or modified sidewalk cafes. The 43rd Ward office wil direct you.


Other holds on your license may also prevent you from being issued your Sidewalk Cafe Permit. Please contact the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection at (312) 744-6249 to make sure you are current on any requirements and payments.

Things to Remember:

  • Six feet of clearance must always be left for pedestrians to pass on the sidewalk.
  • Fifty percent of the perimeter of the cafe needs to be covered in live plants and flowers.
  • BYOB is not allowed at sidewalk cafes.
  • The perimeter of the cafe must include all greenery and accessories, such as umbrellas and busing tables.
  • Businesses may not pave over the parkway or cover any green space for their sidewalk cafe.
  • Businesses can only operate their cafe once they receive their Sidewalk Cafe Permit.
  • A copy of the Sidewalk Cafe Permit must be posted in the window of the business at all times.
  • Once an ordinance is submitted to council, you are required to pay the permitting fee, even if you choose not to put your cafe up.
  • Five percent of cafe tables must be designated as accessible by disabled individuals.
  • There may be only one entrance per cafe area.
  • All entrance width measurements must be shown on the plan, and entrances have to be at least three feet and no more than five feet wide.
  • Insurance should be submitted with the application and the certificate dates must encompass the entire duration of the permit (through Dec. 1, 2014).

Once approved by our office, your application must be submitted to the Business Assistance Center in City Hall, 121 N LaSalle, Room 800.

We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions regarding sidewalk cafes.

Links & Files

Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection – Public Way Use Information

Sidewalk Cafe Permit Application (8mb)