How do I apply for a Street Furniture Licence?

Outdoor seating areas can be considerably valuable to restaurants, cafés and bars and often play a key role in attracting customers. However, depending on the ownership of the land on which the furniture is to be placed, a licence from the relevant city or county council may be required. Failure to obtain a licence where required, or failure to act in accordance with the licence granted, can constitute an offence, and may result in the forced removal of the outdoor seating area.

Street Furniture Licences are available country wide, you should make enquiries with your Local Authority, to ascertain what the application process is.

We will set out the relevant considerations for outdoor seating areas and advertising boards as required by Dublin City Council.

What is a Street Furniture Licence?

A Street Furniture Licence grants permission to put tables and chairs on the footpath outside your premises. The area must be under your control and must be suitable to accommodate the seating area. You must also be able to serve food to the public which can be eaten on-site.

How to apply for a Street Furniture Licence?

1. Arrange a meeting with your local authority’s street furniture unit
2. Publish a notice in a public newspaper
3. Place a notice on your premises
4. Complete the relevant Application Form
5. Discharge the appropriate fees
6. Obtain Public Liability Insurance for €6.5 million

To apply for the Street Furniture Licence, within the Dublin Metropolitan Area, you will first need to arrange a meeting with Dublin City Council’s Furniture Unit. After the meeting, a specified notice of intention to apply for the licence must be published in a national newspaper. A notice summarising the application must also be displayed on the premises in a manner that is visible to the public. After this, a completed application form must be submitted, which will then be considered by Dublin City Council.

The Street Furniture Licence is subject to various general conditions that are important to note: –

• The licensed area must be enclosed by screens
• The design must be approved by Dublin City Council
• Planning permission is required for any front or side awnings used to cover the licensed area
• Public Liability Insurance to the satisfaction of Dublin City Council must also be obtained.

Importantly, the granting of a licence does not guarantee its renewal in subsequent years. Dublin City Council retains the right to cancel, suspend or vary the terms of the licence at any time. Additionally, the street furniture may only be placed on the street within the times specified on the licence and must be removed no later than 10:00pm daily, save for where written permission is otherwise provided by Dublin City Council.

What Permissions do I Need?

Where the land on which the outdoor seating area is to be located is privately owned, the issue of obtaining a licence from the relevant authority does not arise. It is therefore important to first check the title of the property in question, to establish the property’s boundaries. It is not uncommon that the area directly outside a premises constitutes part of the title of the property. If you are erecting an outdoor seating area or structure it may require planning permission and in the case of a protected structure, there may be conservation issues.

In contrast, where the outdoor seating area is to be located on public land, such as a footpath, a Street Furniture Licence will be required. Again, any building of an outdoor seating area or structure may require planning permission.

If the proposed outdoor seating area is to be used for smoking, there are certain requirements it must meet. A smoking room/area only complies with the law if it the structure is either: –

• An area with no roof, whether fixed or mobile
• An outdoor area may have a fixed or moveable roof, so long as not more than 50% of the boundary is covered i.e. by a wall, windows, gate. In other words, if there is a roof, whether it be fixed or movable, 50% of the boundary must remain as open space.

Fees for Street Furniture Licence?

There is an initial licence fee of €100 and thereafter the annual renewal fee is €50. The annual fee per table is €125 and the annual space rental charge varies from €200 to €500 depending on the zone your premises is located in and whether the outdoor area in question is greater or lesser than 4 square metres.

Can Alcohol be Served in the Outdoor Seating Area?

Regardless of whether a Street Furniture Licence is required or not, you should determine if you are entitled to sell alcohol within the outdoor seating area. This can be easily ascertained by reviewing the licensing plans approved by the Court upon the granting of the licence and determining the parameters of the licensed area. While alcohol may be consumed in the outdoor area, the actual sale of the alcohol, that is, the ordering and paying for the alcohol, must take place within the licensed area. If the outdoor seating area is not covered by the current licence, and you wish to sell alcohol from the area, you could make an application to the Court to extend the Licence to include the outdoor seating area.

If you are permitted to provide off sales, it should be noted that any sale of alcohol, in a closed container, for consumption off the premises, should not be consumed within 100 metres of the licensed area.

While there are no countrywide laws prohibiting drinking in public, each Local Authority area is entitled to pass Bye-Laws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in a public place. For example, the Corporation of Dublin Bye-Laws, July 2000 prohibits consumption of alcohol in public places. A failure to comply with the provisions of either the Acts or the Bye-Laws can result in the loss of the Street Furniture Licence.

Street Furniture Licences are available country wide, you should make enquiries with your Local Authority, to ascertain what the application process is and if alcohol is permitted to be served.

Dublin City Council have confirmed that alcohol can be consumed and served within the area covered by the Street Furniture Licence.

Advertising Boards – What you Need to Know

In September 2019, Dublin City Council issued a notice regarding advertising boards placed on the public footpath or roadway, stating that a system of regulation for such would commence from 1st September 2019. Consequently, if one wishes to place an advertising board or structure outside their premises on the public footpath or roadway, they will need to obtain a licence from Dublin City Council. Any unlicensed structures will be subject to removal.

To apply for an Advertising Structures Licence, you must:

Should the licence be granted, an annual fee of €630 will apply. The Advertising Structures Licence is subject to general conditions similar to those that apply to Street Furniture Licences.


It is vital to obtain a Street Furniture Licence, where required, in order to avoid having the outdoor seating area removed and committing a possible offence under the Roads Act, 1993 and possibly Bye-Laws, if enacted. Similarly, as of 1st September 2019, an Advertising Structures Licence is required to place an advertising board on the public footpath or roadway, any unlicensed boards will be removed by Dublin City Council.

While the above article focused on the licencing requirements for outdoor seating areas and advertising boards as set down by Dublin City Council, similar considerations arise in respect of areas under the control of other city and county councils, and it is just as important to ensure compliance in such cases. Enquiries should be made with the relevant Local Authority to ascertain the position.

This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.


Please contact Lorraine Compton or Fiona Tonge for more information: –

  • Lorraine Compton on 086 – 253 4651 or lorraine.compton@comptonsolicitors.ie


  • Fiona Tonge on 089 – 471 4128 or             fiona.tonge@comptonsolicitors.ie


We Can Help You To Better Understand What Business You Can Carry Out During The Covid 19 Emergency Period:

Liquor Licensing is a complex and multi faceted process. 

We pride ourselves on providing a simple, non technical road map with a speedy timeline for completion of the project.  Along the way, we will liaise directly with architects and accountants to leave you free to concentrate on your business.


© Compton Solicitors 2020