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As Kentucky restaurants begin to reopen on May 22, 2020, and because of limited allowable indoor seating capacity, Louisville Metro wants to help restaurant owners find solutions to increase their outdoor seating capacity.

Sidewalk/Right of Way Dining

On May 12, 2020, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the Department of Public Works will temporarily suspend application fees for restaurants seeking an encroachment permit to add or expand their outdoor seating on public property, including sidewalks.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Restaurants still need to apply for a permit online. To obtain a permit, the business will need to provide proof of insurance. You cannot have seating in the public right of way without a permit.

Here are step-by-step directions for how to apply for an encroachment permit through Accela. If you have questions about the permit, please call Public Works at (502) 574-5810.

Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Information for Outdoor Dining

Restaurants wishing to sell alcohol outdoors on property that they do not currently own or lease will need to submit a material change letter to local and state ABC authorities, along with documentation such as a copy of a lease or a letter of approval giving the restaurant permission to use the space. In the case of sidewalk seating, a restaurant would need an approved encroachment permit from Public Works.

If restaurant owners want to add a supplemental bar, they will need to submit an ABC application to local and state ABC authorities to add a supplemental bar to their license.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Louisville Metro ABC at (502) 574- 3121 or fill out the contact form for the state ABC.

Outdoor Dining on Private Property

Louisville Forward worked with Louisville Metro Council to pass an emergency ordinance on May 15, 2020, to suspend certain planning and zoning requirements to allow:

  • Restaurants to setup or expand outdoor seating on private property or in a parking lot without additional parking, landscaping or other requirements normally required
  • Restaurants that are in compliance with the Land Development Code and that already have a liquor license to serve alcohol outdoors from their existing indoor bar

Restaurant owners and/respresentatives should read the Guidelines for Temporarily Expanding Outdoor Seating for Restaurants and the ordinance passed by Metro Council. Fill out the below form with details of how they plan to expand dining outdoors. Restaurants are NOT required to receive a permit or approval for outdoor seating on private property from Louisville Metro Government. Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services will review submissions and contact restaurants ONLY if there are concerns or issues with the plan.

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Louisville Forward

Louisville Forward

Louisville Forward is an integrated approach to economic and community development, combining business attraction, expansion and retention activities, and talent and workforce attraction, with all of the city's real estate development, land use and planning and design functions to present a unified solution for job growth and quality of place. View our complete organizational chart.