Denver Outdoor Dining Program – City and County of Denver

Note: All conditions and restrictions below apply to the new, temporary outdoor patio space only.

Program Expiration

This is a temporary program to support our local eateries, bars and residents. 

It will be available through October 2022. Businesses will have one week upon the conclusion of the program to remove any fixtures from their outdoor area. Outdoor patios established through this program must complete an initial five-day posting that notifies the neighborhood of the dates the patio will operate as well as subsequent postings as directed by the Department of Excise and Licenses. Language for a new posting will be provided to businesses by Denver Excise and Licenses.

Hours of Operation

Outdoor patios opened under this program must close by 10 p.m. on Sundays – Thursdays and by 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Allowed Uses of the Patio

Outdoor patios established under this program can only be used for sit-down dining or customer pick-up and carry-out service. Recorded ambient or background music and television is allowed on the extended patios if in compliance with Denver’s noise ordinance. If a business would like to provide recorded music or televisions on the extended patio, they must ensure the neighborhood was notified through a five-day posting.  If a business was previously approved for an expanded patio and the posting did not indicate they would be having recorded or ambient music or televised sports, they must re-post for five days before playing music or using TVs.  The language for an updated posting will be provided to businesses by Denver Excise and Licenses. 

Expanded outdoor patios cannot be used for activities that would promote congregating, involve shared equipment, or amplify sound, including but not limited to:

  • Standing areas
  • Live music, entertainment or dancing
  • Outdoor games
  • Loudspeaker call systems
  • Pets, except as provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act

Permits and Licenses 

Permits may be necessary for certain proposals, for instance closing streets or alleys. Proposals to operate exclusively on private property will likely be approved more quickly without needing permits.

Temporary furnishings and railings can be used if desired. On either public or private property, installing fences/barriers over 5’9″ in height, constructing a patio covering, performing electrical work, erecting gas-fired temporary heating, or other similar construction work will likely require building, fire or electrical permits. All furnishings and lighting must be easily removed at the end of the program period.

Businesses that have a liquor license will need to submit additional documentation upon request in order to modify their existing liquor license with the city and state, AND will need to post public notice for five days prior to opening the new patio area. Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses will submit these applications to the state for expedited review. If Excise and Licenses receives 15 written protests via U.S. mail or email to [email protected], a public hearing may be required before approvals can be granted. This only applies to businesses that have a liquor license.

Sharing Patio Space

Businesses may not share outdoor premises unless they have also been approved for a Communal Outdoor Dining Area. Each establishment must maintain control of its operations and food and beverage service.

Additional COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements

Please consult the State of Colorado’s guidance for restaurants for additional requirements on social distancing, maximum capacity, cleaning protocols, and more.

Read more about the program in Denver’s FAQs(PDF, 314KB)