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NSW Outdoor Dining

Outdoor cafe seating Balmain

The NSW Government encourages the establishment of outdoor dining areas across the state to create vibrant local communities and additional opportunities for food-based businesses

The NSW Government has developed processes to make it easier for councils and other responsible agencies to approve outdoor dining for existing food and beverage businesses such as small bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues. Following a successful 12-month trial, planning rules introduced in November 2021 to permanently enable pubs and small bars across the state to implement outdoor dining as exempt development.

The Service NSW business concierge service can provide further information on how to apply for outdoor dining.

Businesses interested in streamlined outdoor dining approvals for footpaths and roads should first contact their council to ask about applying for outdoor dining.

For outdoor dining on other types of land, such as parks, carparks and bowling greens, businesses should apply directly via Liquor & Gaming NSW.

For the latest information, including updates about relevant grants and initiatives, visit Alfresco outdoor dining.

In 2019, the NSW Small Business Commission developed a model NSW Outdoor Dining Policy and User Guide in partnership with Service NSW and participating Councils. While this program has been superseded by the program listed above, these documents may be a useful reference to councils and small businesses.

Links to the previous Outdoor Dining Policy and User Guide are provided below.  Wording from them may be used by Councils wishing to develop or update their outdoor dining policy, provided the wording is used appropriately and the NSW Small Business Commission is acknowledged. Councils may use the diagrams from these documents, but will need to contact us to seek permission to use any of the other images.

Key documents