PRESS RELEASE: DowntownDC Sidewalk Cafes Increase by 100% Since 2009


Washington, D.C. – The number of sidewalk cafes in the DowntownDC Business Improvement District’s (BID) 138-block area this summer totaled 190 with 5,692 seats, representing a 100 percent increase in the number of cafes since the survey was first conducted in 2009, according to the BID’s annual sidewalk cafe survey released Sept. 3.

“This is a remarkable indicator of the vibrancy and livability of the public space in Downtown,” said BID Executive Director Richard H. Bradley.

[Explore the BID’s Sidewalk Cafe Map online here.]

The BID’s first survey in 2009 recorded 95 cafes in Downtown. Since then, the number of cafes and cafe seats in Downtown have risen each year. The number of cafes since 2014 grew by 6.7 percent (178 cafes in 2014) and the number of seats since last year grew by 9.6 percent (5,441 seats in 2014).

A total of 19 new sidewalk cafes have opened since the BID’s 2014 survey and seven locations closed, for a net gain of 12 cafes. Seven of the 19 new cafes opened in the luxury 10-acre mixed-use CityCenterDC development (825 10th Street NW): Centrolina, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Dolcezza, Fig & Olive, Mango Tree and RareSweets.

Combined, the seven new cafes at CityCenterDC boast a total of 192 new seats. These new cafes add to outdoor seating that was previously open at CityCenterDC in 2014 at The Park at CityCenterDC along New York Avenue and in The Plaza at CityCenterDC.

Overall, the average number of seats in a Downtown cafe in 2015 was 31. The largest sidewalk cafe recorded this year was at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center’s Woodrow Wilson Plaza (1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) with 232 seats.

This and more information concerning the BID’s sidewalk cafe survey can be explored online here by visiting the BID’s Sidewalk Cafe map, created using ArcGIS Online generated by Esri. Through this technology, users are offered a visual representation of sidewalk cafe density and other features and have the opportunity to delve further into individual cafe data.

The DowntownDC BID’s Public Space Management department conducts a sidewalk cafe survey each summer, dividing the BID’s 138-block area into eight zones and canvassing each zone during the 11am-2pm lunch rush. 

The DowntownDC BID actively supports the growth of sidewalk cafes, which significantly contribute to the vibrancy of urban streetscapes and enhance the quality of life for all Downtown residents, workers and visitors.


About the DowntownDC BID

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) is a private non-profit organization that provides capital improvements, resources and research to help diversify the economy and enhance the Downtown experience for all. This special district, where property owners have agreed to tax themselves to fund services, encompasses a 138-block area of approximately 520 buildings from Massachusetts Avenue on the north to Constitution Avenue on the south, and from Louisiana Avenue on the east to 16th Street on the west. As a catalyst, facilitator and thought leader, the DowntownDC BID promotes public/private partnerships to create a remarkable urban environment. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @downtowndcbid.