Do You Use Candles In Your Restaurant Or Bar?

Originally Published : May 21, 2014

No matter what your capacity is, if you use candles, or any “open flame”, you must obtain an Open Flame Permit from the Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention. Many owners have the misconception that if their establishment has a lawful occupancy of less than 75 that this requirement does not apply.  However, Fire Code 403.1 makes all bars, restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments with an occupancy of less than 75 persons regulated as a “public gathering place”, and thus, must still obtain an Open Flame Permit pursuant to Fire Code 105.6.


The reasoning behind this is because the use of open flames presents the same fire safety concerns in eating and drinking establishments no matter what their occupancy is.  Accordingly, the regulations governing the use of open flames apply to all eating and drinking establishments.


Fire Code 308 and Fire Department Rule 3 RCNY 308-01 set forth the specific regulations governing the use of open flames, not only the use of candles but also the specific regulations concerning other open-flame decorative devices, the preparation of flaming foods and beverages, the use of solid alcohol for food warming (i.e. Sternos), and charcoal for cooking in hibachis.


Open flame permits are pretty easy to obtain and are issued for a period of one year.  There is a $210.00 fee and the fire department must come out and do an inspection before issuing the permit.  If you have any kind of open flame in your establishment and do not have the requisite permit, you should contact the Bureau of Fire Prevention at (718) 999-2436 to start the application process.


If you have received a violation for the use of open flames without a valid open flame permit, you should consult an attorney to discuss your options.  We handle these violations frequently and are always happy to assist you in fighting yours.