Mayor Mike McGinn just announced new rules allowing Seattle restaurants that serve booze to place sidewalk chairs and tables all the way up to the curb of a sidewalk—provided both the Liquor Control Board and the City of Seattle approve of each seating plan.
McGinn calls this "a big win for our local businesses and neighborhoods," the Liquor Control Board says the opportunity will actually "apply statewide," and Seattle Restaurant Alliance spokesman Josh McDonald says he's "really excited."
And it's hard not be really excited about more places for outdoor dining. (Hurry up and implement! "Summer" is almost over!)
As for the logistical question I had, and which you may also have: No, this doesn't mean that a restaurant can completely take over the sidewalk, storefront to curb, with tables and chairs and delightfully boozy patrons. It just means that on some streets where it makes more sense, a restaurant can, with the approval of the city and the liquor board, put its sidewalk seating near the curb while leaving a pedestrian pathway between the seating and the restaurant building. In the past, the seating had to basically touch the restaurant building, with the pedestrian pathway always being between the curb and the seating area.