Share this page Print

Pop-up places and Outdoor Cafes

Pop-up places and outdoor cafes add to the vibrancy of street life in Calgary communities. Pop-up places can take many different forms including pop-up parks, pop-up markets, and pop-up patios. These places make use of vacant privately owned land, vacant stores, or even underused sidewalks.

Depending on the proposed development, a pop-up place may be considered an outdoor cafe. If the outdoor cafe is located on private property, a development permit is required.

Pop-up places or outdoor cafés can potentially be located:

  • Within private property lines (parking area and/or sidewalk)
  • On city sidewalk and/or curb lane
  • Combination of private and city property

The use of city property, such as a sidewalk or curb lane, requires a license of occupation agreement which is issued by The City of Calgary Roads department. While curb lanes can be considered for the configuration of the cafe or for redirecting pedestrians, any loss of public parking revenue must be compensated.

Application steps for an outdoor cafe

We’re committed to providing you with a timely response on your permit application.

If an outdoor cafe requires a development permit, follow these steps:

Step 1

Contact Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 to request a pre-application meeting for an outdoor cafe. This step can confirm the location of the outdoor cafe, and determine if it is located on a private parcel or city sidewalk area. As well, a pre-applciation meeting can identify if there are prior approvals or conditions already in effect on the proposed site.

In addition, this step determines if a license of occupation application is also required, if so you will be informed of how to complete this ste.

Step 2

Before you submit your formal application, it is recommended that you contact neighbours who may be affected to identify and address any potential concerns. This is also a good time to look into liquor and food regulations so that there are no surprises.

  • Check with Alberta Health Services to make sure your proposed food service meets regulations, particularly if you are planning to cook (e.g., BBQ) or prepare food outside.
  • Check with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to make sure your proposed alcohol service meets regulations. In particular, be clear about whether or not your patio is connected to your premises or if liquor service would have to travel through an unlicensed area.

Step 3

Submit your formal application.

The key to successfully navigating the approvals process is to understand the requirements, anticipate next steps and submit well organized, complete applications. We can help you identify if there may be any challenges to approval, and will do what they can to assist in the application process.

Step 4

While waiting on approval for a development permit, be sure to investigate any other required approvals including:

Step 5

Once you have all your approvals apply to have the outdoor patio category added to your City of Calgary business license.

  • Planning approvals for outdoor cafes are granted on a temporary basis, typically from one to five years. Be sure to re-apply before your approval lapses to avoid non-renewal, suspension or revocation of your business license.

Step 6

When you’re finished with construction/installation of your outdoor cafe/patio, contact 311 to schedule a development completion permit inspection.