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A sidewalk cafe is a portion of an eating or drinking establishment that is located on a public sidewalk. There are three categories of sidewalk cafes – enclosed, unenclosed and small sidewalk cafes.
The Zoning Resolution regulates where sidewalk cafes are permitted in Article I, Chapter 4. They are generally permitted in Commercial Districts other than C3 Districts, Manufacturing Districts with certain exceptions, R10H Districts, and certain Special Purpose Districts. Sidewalk cafes are prohibited where there may be clearance or pedestrian conflicts, on selected streets listed in Section 14-41. Enclosed sidewalk cafes are also not permitted on the streets listed in Section 14-42. Small sidewalk cafes are allowed on certain streets pursuant to Section 14-43, subject to the underlying zoning. Sidewalk cafes are only allowed in the Special Districts listed in Section 14-44.
Physical and structural criteria for enclosed sidewalk cafes are regulated by zoning, such as minimum sidewalk clearances, clearances from large obstructions, and transparency requirements. Additional physical and design criteria for all sidewalk cafes, including unenclosed sidewalk cafes, are regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). DCA is responsible for reviewing and licensing all applications for sidewalk cafes.