Outdoor Refreshment Area: Sidewalk Cafe

Sidewalk Cafes 

The sidewalk café component of the Outdoor Refreshment Area has started. Businesses who hold a permit to serve alcohol within the Outdoor Refreshment Area boundary can now allow their patron’s to consume and possess alcohol (in glassware or original packaging) at a sidewalk café without a physical barrier around it. You cannot serve alcohol outside of your ABC-approved alcohol permit boundary. Please ensure that the point of sale and serving of alcohol takes place inside of your approved alcohol permit from ABC. Businesses who wish to utilize this aspect of the O.R.A. can do so without any review or fees.

What does the Outdoor Refreshment Area sidewalk cafe do?

The new Outdoor Refreshment Area ordinance allows patrons of bars, restaurants, and performance venues within the O.R.A. boundary to possess and consume alcohol (in original packaging or glassware) at approved sidewalk cafes without a physical barrier around them. No special cups or visible identifiers are needed. Patrons will need to acquire the alcohol from within the businesses existing ABC liquor license boundary where serving is authorized. Requests to expand or alter liquor license boundaries must be approved by ABC. The City of Fayetteville has no regulatory measures to adjust these boundaries. 

Sidewalk Cafe Permit Process

On July 14, 2020 during a special City Council Meeting, the City Council adopted an emergency ordinance which amended the sidewalk cafe section of Fayetteville code  (178.02). The ordinance removed all fees, review, and surety bond requirements for sidewalk cafes. Restaurants, Bars, performance venues, and cafes can utilize sidewalk space with no review so long as the requirements in 178.02 section C are met. If you have questions about utilizing a sidewalk cafe or need assistance, please contact the City’s Long Range Planner, Mary McGetrick.

Helpful resources and links


Frequently asked questions:

Q: I own or operate a restaurant within the Outdoor Refreshment Area boundary, can I utilize the ABC temporary rule change for outdoor service or do I have to utilize the Outdoor Refreshment Area?

A: In some cases, restaurants within the O.R.A. boundary may be able to utilize both the ABC temporary rule change and the O.R.A. sidewalk cafe permit processes. To explore if this approach is right for you, please contact the Department of Economic Vitality.

Q: What is the difference between the ABC temporary rule change for outdoor service and O.R.A. sidewalk cafes? 

A: The ABC temporary rule change for outdoor service is available for all restaurants in the City of Fayetteville, not just those located within the O.R.A. boundary. The ABC temporary rule change enables the expansion of a restaurant’s alcohol service area to go beyond their existing license boundary, whereas the Outdoor Refreshment Area sidewalk cafe allows patrons to consume and possess alcohol purchased from inside the establishments ABC alcohol permit area, in the sidewalk cafe area. The ABC temporary rule change for outdoor service also requires a temporary boundary, such as a rope or flagging tape to annotate the outdoor service area. The sidewalk cafe does not require a temporary or permanent boundary. 

Q: Can bars, private clubs, and performance venues apply for a O.R.A. sidewalk cafe permit? 

Yes. Any business who serves alcohol to it’s patrons through an ABC approved alcohol permit within the Outdoor Refreshment Area boundary can apply for a sidewalk cafe permit.