Sidewalk Cafes: Numbers to Operate By

Updated: May 2, 2019

If you operate a sidewalk cafe or plan to soon, here are numbers you to need to know:

$260 - Fee for a Sidewalk Cafe Permit from DDOT;

45 to 90 days - Average timeframe for the permit application process;

36 inches - Maximum height of fences and planters around cafes;

15 - Square feet per seat (seating capacity equals total square footage divided by 15);

10 feet - Sidewalk space to keep clear between cafe and curb or nearest obstruction;

8 feet - Minimum clearance for awnings with a maximum valence height of 12 feet;

$5 - Taxed per square foot yearly for unenclosed cafes, $10 for enclosed cafes;

2 to 5 - Permits involved: DDOT Sidewalk
Permit (required)
, DCRA Certificate
 (required), Building 
), Electric
using electricity), and ABRA license (if serving alcohol);

0 - The number of people who enjoy this process.

For more need-to-know information, check out:

DDOT's Sidewalk Cafe Overview