Which Restaurants and Bars are Eligible to Open on Friday? Plus ABRA Regulations and Info On Street Closures

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

As reported here earlier today, Mayor Bowser lifted the stay-at-home order and is allowing restaurants and other food establishments to reopen on Friday, May 29th. Many are not planning on opening immediately but many are eligible. My reading of the order and a clarification that Gabe Hiatt of Eater received allows the following outdoor spaces to open immediately for table service/seated “outdoor dining” on Friday, May 29th:

  1. non-booze serving restaurant/fast food outdoor space (DDOT approved sidewalk cafes and any other outdoor space on private property)
  2. booze serving restaurants/bars/taverns/nightclubs/multipurpose facilities “that serve food” (or just have a license to serve food, and their outdoor spaces that have DDOT/ABRA approved sidewalk cafe OR ABRA summer garden endorsements.

What is a summer garden?? It is outdoor space that is not a sidewalk cafe or otherwise in public space. This refers to most beer gardens, back patios, side patios, rooftops, roof deck, gardens, and courtyard.

Also, because all if not all bars/restaurants in DC can technically serve food (my understanding is that DCRA requires any bar to get a restaurant basic business license) I don’t think this is a huge issue.

What does this mean? Barred in DC “exclusively” obtained (“under deadline”) a list of all ABRA-licensed establishments with at least one of these endorsements. Out of the 1450+ licensed establishments in DC, around 850 have one of these endorsements, meaning the other 600 would not be able to open until Phase 3. An incomplete list of beer gardens and other outdoor bars are below, A reader created a map here using this data.

Twitter account Eat DC has the best ongoing list of spots opening.

ABRA Regulations

[ADDED]. I located a copy of the draft regulations ABRA  has now adopted and are final.

On-Premises Outdoor Dining

  • Prohibit dancing, darts, video games, or other outdoor games
  • no BYOB (not allowed anyways)
  • Menu must contain a minimum of 3 “prepared food items”
    • Based on previous guidance prepared food items is not a bag of chips unless housemade or spices added)
  • Require purchase of 1+ prepared food items per table
  • Prepared item can be prepared on site or at another entity that has a DOH food license (i.e. food truck or other restaurant)
    • Bar/restaurant staff have to deliver food, not the food truck
  • Can only be open outside 8a-midnight (or earlier if settlement agreement/Board has said so)
  • No live music or entertainment (only background/recorded music)
  • No alcohol advertising (except menus) on outdoor space
  • Wait staff wear masks
  • Masks required except when “seated and eating or drinking”
  • Requires reservations system by phone or on-line. Suggests keeping customer logs.
    • This doesn’t appear to actually require reservations, just to have a reservation system.
  • Can’t share tables/chairs with another business

Outdoor Dining Expansion

ABRA wants to “allow as many qualifying ABC-licensed establishments to return to operation as possible”. It will allow serving in “new or expanded temporary ground floor or street level outdoor public and private space not listed on its existing license” (No new rooftops or elevated) if:

    • Registers with ABRA and gets written authorization
    • Registers with DDOT for public space OR Gets written approval from property owner for any outdoor private sapace
    • Space must be delineated/marked

Awnings or tents that no more than 1 side are considered outdoor space. And retractable glass walls make something indoor dining. Unclear if this applies to existing enclosed sidewalk patios.

Street Closures

Street closures are also being considered by the Mayor’s special events task force. Right now it appears the following streets will be closed to traffic to (more to come hopefully) starting on the following dates (likely to extend past that weekend if all goes well):

  • 18th Street in Adams Morgan (weekend of June 4-7)
  • 800 Block of Upshur Street in Petworth (weekend of June 11-14)
  • Eastern Market-200 and 300 blocks of 7th St SE between Penn & NC Ave (weekend of June 18-21).

The expanded outdoor space would be used for extended outdoor seating for restaurants and there would likely be a 20 foot interior space/lane unused in the event of an emergency vehicle needing to pass through. It’s like the closures would be evenings Thurs-Sun, but in some areas the closures would occur during the day on weekends.

There is apparently opposition to closing Barracks Row from the local Barracks Row main street. Stay tuned about other details on closures in other areas of town.

Beer Gardens

  • Scheduled to Open Friday
    • Dacha Beer Garden Shaw
    • The Brig
    • Dacha Navy Yard
    • The Bullpen
    • Biergarten Haus
  • Not Opening this Friday
    • The Midlands
  • No announcement
    • Bardo
    • Garden District
    • Wundergarten

2 responses to “Which Restaurants and Bars are Eligible to Open on Friday? Plus ABRA Regulations and Info On Street Closures”

  1. […] can see the full regulations here. A more accessible list of requirements is available at dc.gov or from local industry expert Barred in DC, who himself wrote a letter recommending some of the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: