ABRA issues alcoholic beverage licenses to restaurants in the District. A restaurant is defined as an establishment that is:
- Primarily known for the service of food
- Regularly open and prepared to serve food
- Selling and serving food until two hours before closing
- On-premises Retailer Class C: Permits the sale, service and consumption of spirits, beer and wine at a restaurant.
- On-premises Retailer Class D: Permits the sale, service and consumption of beer and wine at a restaurant.
Restaurants can obtain additional permits to expand their scope of operations. Permits can be applied for either at the time of initial application or after the license is issued:
- Entertainment Endorsement: There are three different types of entertainment endorsement categories that allow a restaurant to either provide live entertainment, dancing or to charge a cover. Restaurants that want to provide entertainment, dancing or charge a cover can apply for one, two or all three endorsement categories.
- Summer Garden or Sidewalk Café Endorsement: Allows a restaurant to sell, serve and allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages on outdoor public or private space.
- Brew Pub Permit: Allows a restaurant to brew beer on or adjacent to the premises and to sell the beer for consumption at the licensed restaurant. Also allows the licensee to sell the beer to wholesalers.
- Wine Pub Permit: Allows a restaurant to manufacture wine on or adjacent to the premises and to sell the wine for consumption at the licensed restaurant. Also allows the licensee to sell the wine to wholesalers.
- Distillery Pub Permit: Allows a restaurant to manufacture, distill and store craft liquors on the licensed premises or in an area immediately adjacent to the premises.
Information on licensing fees is available on ABRA's website.
Filing Quarterly Statements
Restaurants are required to file quarterly statements with ABRA to report the previous quarter's food and alcohol sales and expenditures. File quarterly statements by the following dates:
- April 30 reporting January–March (Q1)
- July 30 reporting April–June (Q2)
- October 30 reporting July–September (Q3)
- January 30 reporting October–December (Q4)
Restaurants Operating in Hotels
A restaurant operating inside of a hotel is eligible to obtain a hotel license if the restaurant has a written agreement with the hotel to sell and serve alcoholic beverages in the hotel’s dining rooms, lounges, banquet halls, private rooms of registered guests, etc.
- ABC License Application Process and ABC License Application
- File Quarterly Statements
- Extended Holiday Hours
- Summer Garden/Sidewalk Café Endorsement Application
- Entertainment Endorsement
- ABC Manager License Form
- ABC Manager Renewal Form
- Attorney/Agent Designation Form
- Security Plan Form
- Gifts and Loans Disclosure Form.
- Stipulated License
If you are making any changes to an already licensed business, find the proper form here:
- One Day Substantial Change
- Change of Hours
- Change License Class
- Change Corporate Name
- Change Trade Name
- Change of Officers, Directors, Partners
- Change of Ownership (complete ABC License application)
- License Safekeeping
- Settlement Agreement Amendment and Termination Form
- Update Contact Information
- ABC Quick Guide: Restaurant Licensees
- ABC Quick Guide: Minors and ABC Establishments
- ABC Quick Guide: Books and Records and Food Sales Requirements
- ABC Quick Guide: Gift and Loan Rules
- ABC Quick Guide: Amending or Terminating Settlement Agreements
- ABC Quick Guide: Security Plans
- Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments
- ABRA Noise Prevention Resources