Get us in your inbox

outdoor dining restaurant New York City
Photograph: Shutterstock

New York is officially lifting its restaurant curfew

Starting next month, bar seating can also resume.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

We've got incredibly good news: Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced that New York City restaurants and bars will no longer have to abide by a midnight curfew starting May. Specifically, according to an official press release, outdoor dining destinations can resume pre-pandemic hours starting May 17 while indoor spaces will be able to do so beginning May 31. 

And there's more: The Governor also announced that bar seating can resume starting on May 3 after more than a year during which the practice was off-limits. Speaking of bars: the city is also officially throwing out the law that requires you to order food with an alcoholic drink. No more "Cuomo chips," New Yorkers!

"Everything we’ve been doing is working. All the arrows are pointing in the right direction and now we’re able to increase economic activity even more. Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world," the Governor said in an official statement. "To be clear: we will only be able to maintain this progress if everyone gets the COVID vaccine. It is the weapon that will win the war and we need everyone to take it, otherwise we risk going backwards."

As for indoor restaurant capacity, we're at 50% right now but wouldn't be surprised to hear about a change in policy in the upcoming months given the trajectory that we've been on recently. 

The exciting update was met with much fanfare across the board as restaurant owners have been pushing back against the curfew for months, arguing it has contributed to stalling revenue by majorly hampering business operations. 

Diners are welcoming the change with open arms as well, as this selection of tweets makes apparent: 

Fill out our excellent (and extremely quick) Time Out Index survey right now, and have your voice heard.

Want to know what’s cool in the city? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news


      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!