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How to apply for a permanent outdoor dining license

Last updated:

The temporary outdoor dining license created during COVID-19 will expire at the end of the 2021 Outdoor Dining program. In the future, only applicants licensed for permanent outdoor dining may operate.

Please note: We're currently evaluating the permanent process for outdoor dining on public property. We add more information about outdoor dining on public property when that's available.

Step
1

Before you start

Remember to check if your underlining zoning will permit outdoor dining. Inspectional Services will have that information. If it does and you're interested in applying for an outdoor dining license, you will need at least two approvals:

  1. one approval from the owner and landlord of the property
  2. approval from the Licensing Board to serve food or alcohol.
Before you start this process, please note:

The proposed space should be contiguous (connected) to the licensed premise with either:

  • a clear view of the area from inside the premises, or
  • the licensee must commit to providing management personnel dedicated to the area.

You must confirm that the proposed space is indeed private property and not public property. The public property process is different. Not sure of the classification of the space? Contact the Public Improvement Commission (PIC) to verify if the space is private or public property. The PIC will need to issue a License, Maintenance, and Indemnification (LMI) Agreement for the use of public space, like a sidewalk or street. We'll have more information on the public property process in the coming months.

As part of this process, we require applicants to submit a right to occupy from the owner of the space.

State or Massport property are considered private property for the City’s permanent outdoor dining process. You are required to get a letter from the State or Massport to occupy the proposed space.

Proposed spaces in private ways accessible to the public will be considered private property for the City’s permanent outdoor dining process. However, the applicant should share the proposal with the:

The proposed space should be fully accessible.

Key definitions:

Private property: Any property not located in a public way. Private property is owned by a private individual or entity (non-governmental).

Contiguous space: Space that is connected and continuous. This usually refers to adjoining real estate parcels:

  • in close proximity
  • in actual close contact or touching, or
  • bounded or traversed by.
Step
2

Contact and work with public agencies

Before you can move forward with the Licensing Board, you will need to submit applications with a number of public agencies:

Review public agency requirements

Step
3

Apply or amend your Common Victualler license

If you have a Common Victualler (CV) with alcohol:
If you have a Common Victualler without alcohol:
Step
4

Attend the Licensing transactional hearing

If your application is deemed complete, the Licensing Board will schedule a hearing for the petition.

Step
5

Wait for the Licensing vote and decision

Applications for CV with alcohol
  • The Licensing Board will then vote on the petition the following day. If the Licensing Board grants the petition, the application will be forwarded to the ABCC for further review.
  • If the ABCC grants the petition, you will receive a notice from the ABCC. The Licensing Board will issue you an updated Common Victualler license with the patio added to the license description. Please note: The Inspection Certificate should have the outdoor patio area noted in the description to be issued a Common Victualler license.
Applications for CV without alcohol
  • If the Licensing Board grants the petition, you will be issued the updated Common Victualler license with the patio added to the license description. Please note: The Inspection Certificate should have the outdoor patio area noted in the description to be issued a Common Victualler license.
Step
1

Under review

We're currently evaluating the permanent process for outdoor dining on public property. We will add more information about outdoor dining on public property when that's available.

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