The Return of NI Hospitality– Maximising Outdoor Areas

With the long-awaited reopening of the hospitality sector now in full swing, and the summer season about to begin, there has never been a better time for pubs, restaurants and hotels to review their current liquor licence arrangements and take action to increase capacity and make use of any outside space available to them.

While a blind-eye may have been turned initially to certain businesses trading in breach of their properly licensed areas, in recent weeks we have seen PSNI and Council officials taking tough action resulting in more lost trading time.

In order to utilise all available space and avoid costly closures, one avenue to consider is the Pavement Cafes legislation, which allows a business to apply to the local council for temporary permission to use an adjacent public space (e.g. public footpaths) for tables and chairs. This means customers can be served in an open air setting, and can mean a valuable increase in customer capacity.

A more permanent solution is available to those businesses that have, for example, a rear yard or other outside space within the boundaries of their own premises.  A beer garden, outside smoking area or similar can be permanently licensed for serving customers, via an application to the county court.

For a cost free discussion of the licensing process, please contact John Finnegan  on 02890 200050 or by email at