Raleigh, North Carolina – City leaders voted Tuesday in favor of a “social neighborhood” to allow people to drink beer, wine or cocktails in parts of downtown Raleigh.
The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously to approve the measure, which is expected to go into effect Aug. 15.
The social district will encompass Fayetteville Street from the State Capitol to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and will include the Red Hat Amphitheater. City Market is part of the proposed area while Moore Square and Nash Square are not.
On Tuesday, Raleigh leaders voted to expand the Social District to include bars and restaurants in the Warehouse District. It stretches from Dawson Street to Union Station.
People will be allowed to walk the streets with special plastic cups sold by restaurants and bars licensed by North Carolina’s liquor control system from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Cups should not exceed 16 ounces. Also, take-out drinks cannot be served in a glass container.
Businesses may or may not allow customers to bring drinks into restaurants and bars.
The city plans to clearly mark the boundaries of the proposed neighborhood with signs, so people know where you can and can’t grab a take-out drink and walk around downtown.
What traders think of the new social district
Vault general manager Daniel McKinney said stores along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh depend on foot traffic to attract new customers.
“We’re kind of a cool, secretive sportswear store, but it would be nice if there was a little more exposure,” McKinney said.
McKinney thinks Raleigh’s new social neighborhood will help The Vault.
“Once people find out about us, they’re like, ‘This place is amazing,'” McKinney said. “It’s not just about sales, sales, sales for us.
“We try to create an experience for our customers.”
In March, the city of Greensboro launched its own social district, allowing take-out drinks until 9 p.m.
“One of our retailers said there were probably about 25 people that first night who walked into his store sipping, walking around and shopping,” said the president of Downtown Greensboro Inc., Zach Metheny.
“We had no problems” said Metheny.
Metheny said the town hasn’t seen an increase in crime or noise. He also said the trash is manageable.
Greensboro Police Department spokeswoman Josie Cambareri said the city is using a dedicated downtown crew with cars, bikes and a golf cart.
“We haven’t had a lot of concerns because of the district,” Cambareri wrote in an email to WRAL News.
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