City of Sydney Outdoor Cafe Guide

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Outdoor Cafe Guide for Market Umbrellas and Cafe Barriers, Sydney, NSW

Cafe barriers and market umbrellas are an ideal solution to provide shelter from the sun and protect patrons from the rain and wind. Different councils within the same city have varying regulations in regard to cafe barriers and market umbrellas.

The information on this page is to be used as a guide only. Click your council below to download their documentation. If your council in not listed then please let us know and we will try to obtain it.

City of Sydney Market Umbrella and Cafe Barrier Regulations


  • Outdoor cafes, combined with the use of café barriers and market umbrellas should enrich the pedestrian experience and public life in Sydney. It is therefore important that they present an open, inviting image and are easily accessible from the public way.

    Full height solid screens and any type of enclosure including plastic screens, are not permitted and not justified in Sydney’s mild but sometimes windy climate.

City of Sydney Market Umbrella Specifications

Market Umbrellas

  • Market umbrellas may be used to provide shade and shelter, however, market umbrellas and other shade structures must:
    - Be positively secured to ensure that they are at all times securely fixed to withstand the effects of wind. Fixtures that penetrate or damage the pavement on Council footpaths will not be permitted.
    - Be removed or closed in extremely windy conditions and must be removed when the outdoor seating area is not in use.
    - Not encroach on, or interfere with pedestrian movement, and must be at least 2.2 metres above the ground level.
    - Be manufactured from fire retardant material if adjacent to a heating devise.
    - Be maintained in sound and aesthetically acceptable condition to the Council's satisfaction.
    - Only have custom printed cafe umbrellas if it complies with the advertising and signage provisions of this policy.
    - Be market umbrella or cafe umbrella style (not beach umbrellas) and of muted or neutral colour.

City of Sydney Outdoor Cafe Policy

Cafe Barriers

  • Here is an example of the differing laws from one council to the next concerning cafe barriers:

  • City of Sydney
  • The use of framed fabric, or any other style of low height cafe barriers, including planter boxes, are not appropriate, as they become a physical and psychological obstruction within the public domain and may have a detrimental impact on the use, enjoyment and safety of pedestrians and patrons. Cafe barriers may be considered between adjoining café areas to separate the areas.

  • City of Ryde
  • The use of framed fabric cafe barriers, may be appropriate if they do not become a physical or visual obstruction within the public domain and do not have a detrimental impact on pedestrians. Cafe barriers may be considered between adjoining outdoor dining activities to separate the dining areas.
  • Barriers should be provided where the outdoor dining area is located 600mm from the kerb line to prevent chairs and tables creeping closer to the kerb. Cafe barriers, must be of a colour and type that complements other furniture, such as cafe umbrellas.
    Removable barriers, placed on public land, must be free standing and of a weight that is safe, durable and supports the design. The establishment of holes, located fasteners and penetration into a pavement surface is not permitted without Council approval.
    All fixed barriers/bollards require the approval of Council.

Sydney Outdoor Cafe Policy

Ryde Outdoor Dining Policy

Newcastle Outdoor Dining Policy

Parramatta City Council Outdoor Dining Policy

Ashfield Council Outdoor Dining Policy