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Arlington’s Outdoor Cafe Guidelines

What does it take to open an outdoor cafe in Arlington? With the arrival of spring, the county is reminding restaurant owners about the rules and regulations behind outdoor seating.

Below are a few of the guidelines for outdoor cafes, as outlined in this county-produced flyer which is being distributed to local businesses.

  • Outdoor cafes must be part of a lawful operating restaurant, cafe, or vendor with a valid license from the Commissioner of Revenue and a Certificate of Occupancy from the Zoning Office
  • Outdoor seating or cafes are seasonal, permitted typically from April through November of each year, from Spring through Autumn and only during normal business operating hours. They cannot be enclosed and no parking is required.
  • The Location and seating arrangements must be pre-approved as part of the Certificate of Occupancy application and should remain that way for the duration of the outdoor season.
  • Umbrellas are allowed and may not have logo(s) or signs(s) without legislative approval
  • Portable signs are not permitted. These include A-frame signs, triangular or arrow signs, etc. Permits must be obtained for all signs.
  • Shielding of fenced area with banner or logos are not permitted. State and local permits and approval is required for other services such as ABC, health, etc.
  • During the course of the season, a County staffer may visit your business as part of our observation and verification process.

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