Please read the entire Rooms & Rates section to understand which charges or discounts might apply. We do not permit our guests to bring in outside food or drinks. If we make exceptions (i.e. a specialty wine, birthday cakes): Corkage Fee is $15/Bottle and the Cake-Plate Fee is $1.50/per person.


Non-profit organizations are eligible for a 50% discount off the room-use and technical-use (audio/visual) fees by providing a copy of their 501(c)(3) certificate and tax-exemption ID number. The non-profit discount does not apply to food and beverage or for events that happen on Friday or Saturday evenings and M-F before 5 pm. (*some restrictions apply)


Events are considered confirmed only after both a non-transferrable and non-refundable deposit of $50.00 and a signed copy of the Busboys and Poets Terms of Agreement are received. The deposit amount will be deducted from the total event cost.


Sales tax (DC 10% / VA 9% / MD 6%) and service fee (18%) will apply to the total food and beverage amount. If the person/organization is tax-exempt, a tax-exemption ID must be provided to waive applicable sales tax.


For parties of 25 and less, there is a $50 flat-fee for table cloths. For parties of 25 and more, the fee is dependant on the number of tables (maximum flat-fee of $150).



The $50 deposit confirms the event. The 2nd deposit (50% of total) is due ten days prior to the event, and the remaining balance is due 48 hours prior to the event.


A valid credit card number must be provided (usually at the point of confirmation) regardless of method of payment. Please pay with business checks only, not personal checks. Checks are due 72 hours prior to events and should be mailed to our PO BOX 23055, Washington DC 20056. Checks should be made payable to: Busboys and Poets. If the check is not received and no other method of payment is presented (i.e. a valid credit card number) we reserve the right to cancel the event and/or charge the full estimated event cost onto the credit card kept on file.


A food and beverage minimum is not required. When a food and beverage minimum spend is met the hourly rate for reserving the private event rooms is waived. For most locations the OPTIONAL food spend to waive the room rental fee is between $800 – $1000 and must be met with PRE_ORDERED FOOD. We offer a discounted, non-profit food and beverage minimum on select days/times and is honored once a copy of the organization’s 501c3 non-profit certificate is received.



The final menu must be received 10 days prior to the scheduled event date. Event food orders must be for at least 60% of the final head-count or enough for 30 guests minimum, whichever number is greater.


Final head-count must be received 48 hours prior to the scheduled event date. The number provided will be used for invoicing. If no final head-count number is received 48 hours prior to the scheduled event date, the last number given will be used and considered as final. Note: Charges are based on the final head-count or actual attendance, whichever is greater.


Drink tickets are non-refundable, non-reusable and will be based on the final headcount number.


If the event is not catered and no pre-ordered food and beverage is made, attendees will be able to order from the regular Busboys and Poets menu. We do not stop food and beverage service during any event.


If you reserve space for an event and must cancel your booking, a CANCELLATION FEE may apply.
(TIME of cancellation) (Cancellation FEE)
Anytime after the event booking 10% of the total invoiced amount or forfeiture of the $50 deposit, whichever is greater
Within 11-21 days of the event 25% of the total invoiced amount
Within 10 days of the event 50% of the total invoiced amount
We must receive the cancellation in writing. The notice should be emailed to the Events Specialist or events@busboysandpoets.com.



While our staff is trained to use/operate the audio/visual equipment, we do not have a professional sound or lighting technician. Prior to the event, the manager-on-duty will set up the technical equipment according to the specified technical requirements and check in intermittently.


All deliveries should be made on the day of the event with any equipment, props, or other materials removed immediately after the event. Items dropped off more than 30 minutes prior to the event require pre-approval by a member of the Marketing & Events Team. Busboys and Poets is not responsible for any missing or left behind items.


For admission tickets sold at the door, Busboys and Poets is entitled to 40% of total sales for for-profit organizations and 20% for non-profit organizations. If there is a suggested donation, meaning there is no required admittance charge, Busboys and Poets will not take a percentage of the collection.


The event space must be cleared at or before the scheduled ending time. If not, additional room charges may apply. Note: 30 minutes is given at no expense for setup/sound-check before the event start time, but no complimentary breakdown time is given at the end of the event.


All merchandise sales on our premises must be pre-approved by a member of the Marketing & Events Team. Book sales must be coordinated with Bookstore personnel.


We provide a discounted rate for those interested in using our event space for photoshoots and/or videoshoots. The rate is: $25 per hour from 9a – 11a or 3p – 5p, Monday – Friday.


    1. Musicians will only be permitted to perform at Busboys and Poets after a signed copy of the Live Music Guidelines Agreement Form has been received. The agreement should be signed by the event host (not the performer).
    2. Artists must be able to load-in through the front of the restaurant.
    3. 30 minutes is provided for set-up and sound check. Since there is minimal allotted time for sound check it is suggested that a line check be worked into the set to check levels.
    4. There is no dedicated sound technician. The manager on duty sets up the sound and checks in intermittently. Artists are permitted to bring a qualified sound technician.
    5. We require that all programming go through our sound board. Amplifiers are not allowed but artists are permitted to bring one stage monitor.
    6. Artists are permitted to sell CDs and merchandise as long as sales are handled by the artist.
    7. Busboys and Poets prides itself on being a good community member. Accordingly, we reserve the right to regulate the volume of live music performances.