Belfast could take on a more continental look this summer as it moves towards a new 'alfresco' dining and drinking culture.
The city council is accepting applications for pavement cafe licences from Monday.
Restaurateurs have said the move will help get the city back on its feet after lockdown as the indoor operation of bars and eateries will be constrained by social distancing.
Colin Neill, the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, welcomed the availability of the new licences and said they would help save jobs in the industry.
"I'm optimistic that all councils will start rolling these out rapidly to help save jobs," he said.
Gerry Carlile, who owns a pizzeria in Belfast's Donegall Square West, said the city should take inspiration from other cities by introducing pedestrianised areas for outdoor drinking and eating.
Now Mr Carlile has written to Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to ask her to designate Donegall Square West as a hospitality destination/tourist attraction, including by pedestrianisation. Last month, the Department for Infrastructure announced plans to pedestrianise Belfast's Hill Street and Gordon Street in the Cathedral Quarter.
Donegall Square West has several bus-stops - but Mr Carlile said these could be relocated.
He said Belfast should seek to emulate UK cities in introducing a European-style cafe-bar culture.
Some have pedestrianised large areas of their city centre for eating and drinking, creating new tourist destinations in the process - such as Liverpool's Concert Square or Glasgow's Buchanan Street.
Meanwhile, Tony O'Neill - the restaurateur behind Coppi and Buba in St Anne's Square - said he hoped the entirety of the outdoor square, which is privately owned by Ducales Capital, could be given over to dining.
"All of the restaurants in the square have been speaking about it, along with The MAC Theatre and the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District," he said.
"We've thought about putting a marquee in the middle of the square and covering it over during the winter, and have obtained a price for doing that."
Mr O'Neill said he plans to reopen Coppi soon, initially limiting its hours to Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He said Buba, a smaller venue, would remain closed for now.
Belfast Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: "Councils have been encouraged to take a flexible and pragmatic approach to cafes, restaurants or bars that want to have on-street seating for customers in order to comply with social distancing.
"As part of our recovery plan for the city, council will be accepting applications for pavement cafes from Monday. I hope this will be good news for our hospitality sector and demonstrate that we are committed to helping them reopen again safely, and without any added delay."
Simon Hamilton, chief executive of Belfast Chamber, said he hoped the licences would usher in a new era.
"We look forward to seeing lots of hospitality businesses availing of the pavement cafe licences and not just helping the city's economy to bounce back from the effects of Covid-19 but also to help transform Belfast into the modern, vibrant city we all aspire with a growing European style cafe culture that these licences will help to develop," he added.
Earlier this week, the council launched a 'confidence mark' for venues in the city to reassure members of the public that measures have been taken to keep them safe as Belfast begins to reopen.
Mr Carlile said a pedestrianised Donegall Square West could become a centre for hospitality.
"Bars and restaurants from all over Belfast could have a pitch," he explained.
"That would allow them to double in size and give hospitality a chance to survive and get through the other end. It could become a really attractive tourist destination."
Other councils are looking at a similar outdoor cafe culture.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to temporarily relax controls on pavement cafes. The council says it is keen for businesses to use public spaces within town centres to facilitate street cafes.
And Mid-Ulster District Council wants pavement cafes to become part of the culture of local towns.
A Department for Infrastructure spokeswoman added: “Minister Mallon is very keen to support local communities and traders through this challenging time. The department is working closely with councils, including Belfast City Council, and other stakeholders to assess a number of proposals that have been put forward to facilitate social distancing and the reopening of the hospitality sector.
"One of the areas that has been suggested for intervention is Donegall Square West.
"The department has also collaborated with Belfast City Council and the Department for Communities over the past year to create a new vision for Belfast city centre.
"The main output from this is the draft Bolder Belfast report which sets out an ambitious vision for the city centre up to 2035 – recognising that our city centres are changing and taking the first steps to create a place that is liveable, inclusive, connected and sustainable and has people at its heart.”