ADA Accessibility: Restaurants and Theaters

handicapped seat

Date night featuring dinner and a movie is a treat most people enjoy. It is an opportunity to relax, to unwind, and to simply spend time together. That’s why ADA accessibility is important when it comes to restaurants and theaters. People with disabilities need easy access to these types of venues so that their only stress is what food to order and which movie to see.


While parking and building access is important, let’s focus on seating options within a restaurant. If the tables are fixed to the floor or attached to a wall, at least one table (if less than 20 are available) must be available. If more than 20 tables are available, then the rule is 5% of the tables be accessible.

The maximum height for a fixed table is 34″ and the minimum is 28″. A clear floor area of 30″ by 48″ is the rule for under the table, with 19″ included for knee and leg space. Moveable chairs provide space for wheelchairs. When considering ADA accessibility and seating arrangements, restaurant owners, managers, and staff must remember that it is illegal to segregate people with disabilities into a designated accessible seating area.

Movie Theaters

In the age of multi-screen cinemas, most movie theaters now offer stadium-style seating. The ADA requires that companion seating and designated aisle seats with folding or retractable arm rests be provided . Choices of seating and viewing options must be offered that are equivalent to or better than other seating.

“Where Do You Want to Sit ?”

This is a common question when going out with friends. For a person with disabilities, there aren’t many options. Having a comfortable seat is important to being able to relax and unwind while dining or enjoying a movie. ADA accessibility and seating in restaurants and theaters is vitally important because everyone deserves a great date night. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing a favorite venue, please contact us today.