City of Newcastle encourages the establishment of outdoor dining areas throughout the Newcastle region.
There are guidelines you need to follow to get approval to establish an outdoor dining area. An outdoor dining area will only be permitted in association with an approved food business.
The Outdoor Dining Guidelines contain all the requirements necessary in relation to outdoor furniture, toilet facilities, the consumption of alcohol, shade structures, cleanliness and maintenance.
Making an application
Before making an application it is recommended you contact our Customer Enquiry Centre to ensure you have the correct plans, details and insurance certificate. Applications may be lodged at the Customer Enquiry Centre.
Download: Outdoor Dining Application Form (PDF)
Download: Outdoor Alfresco Dining Application - Temporary (PDF) - land owners consent is required.
Pets at outdoor dining areas
Dogs are now permitted in kerbside outdoor dining areas - Download the flyer on dogs at outdoor dining venues
Your dog can join you if they:
- Are on a lead
- Stay on the ground
- Are not fed
- Have the restaurant owner’s permission.
In 2020 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, City of Newcastle became the first council in NSW to scrap annual outdoor dining fees to encourage more outdoor dining and activate commercial centres. A no-fee option still remains available today to all businesses, on the condition that the outdoor furniture/structure is placed inside the café or restaurant at closing time.
You need separate approval from City of Newcastle if you are going to erect permanent structures (including furniture and other structures) in a public space. Fees apply for these structures. City of Newcastle was the first council in NSW to provide an option for businesses to permanently install outdoor dining structures/furniture on the public footpath.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) requirements
If your outdoor dining area is adjacent to traffic control signals or on a 'classification' state road you may require separate approval from the RMS.
An outdoor dining area is only appropriate where:
- The public space is wide enough to accommodate the outdoor trading area while still maintaining a clear pathway of travel for all pedestrians including those who use mobility aids
- The ground surface of the outdoor dining area is suitably constructed and sufficiently level to accommodate outdoor dining furniture and enable the area to be used safely and without inconvenience to pedestrians or vehicles
- There is no unreasonable hazard to pedestrians, diners or vehicular traffic.
Smoking in outdoor dining areas
Smoking in or adjacent to an outdoor trading area is prohibited. As of 6 July 2015, commercial outdoor dining areas are smoke-free. City of Newcastle does not have any control over these laws and cannot police and or enforce fines. All breaches should be directed to Health NSW who have an online reporting form and for enquiries contact 1800 357 412.
The Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 also bans smoking in the following outdoor public places:
- Within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places
- Public swimming pools
- Spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas used for organised sporting events
- Public transport stops and platforms , including ferry wharves and taxi ranks
- Within four metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building.