Feb 29, 2024 - Business

5 things to know before you drink on the streets in Plaza Midwood's social district

Social district cup

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

People will soon (finally) be able to sip alcoholic drinks in Plaza Midwood's streets.

  • But hold on, hold on. Don't just walk out of the bar with a beer bottle, buddy. This isn't Bourbon Street.
  • There are a few rules to know before you go.

Why it matters: Unlike most North Carolina social districts, Plaza Midwood's program was organized by volunteers. They want it to operate as smoothly as possible.

Here are five things to know before you try the program.

1. The first cup is $8.

All to-go drinks will be served in a metal social district cup. The first one is $8, not including a beverage. When you get a drink or a refill, the bartender will put a fresh sticker on the cup noting when and where the drink was purchased.

  • The stickers come off in the dishwasher.
  • If you return a cup to a business, you get a $2 credit. But you can also take it home and bring it back next time you go out in Plaza Midwood.

2. Cups will be soft launched.

  • Don't expect a big "woohoo-social-district-is-open" street party.
  • Businesses will hand out just a few cups initially, so you'll be lucky if you find one. Throughout March, establishments will offer more and more cups until the social district is fully up and running.

3. Not all businesses are participating.

Social district stickers in green, red and purple
Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios
  • Businesses that sell to-go cups will have a purple sticker on their storefront. Participating ABC permittees include Dish, Legion, Moo & Brew, Sip City, Que Onda, Resident Culture, Milkbread, Southern Strain, Emmy Squared Pizza, Giddy Goat and Pizza Peel.
  • A green sticker signals you are allowed to bring a drink inside. Participating shops include CLTCH, Moxie Mercantile, Betty, Moving Mountains, Wicks & Whiskers, Spirits of Alchemy, Winnie's Boutique and Thirty-One Jane.
  • Businesses with a red sticker do not permit drinks inside.
  • Always confirm with businesses since the list is subject to change.

4. Know where you can or can't bring your drink.

Make sure your cup is empty before you enter a new bar or restaurant. Also, do not walk outside of the social district boundaries with alcohol in your cup.

Social district signs
Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios
  • The district stretches along Central Avenue, roughly from Two Scoops Creamery to Morningside Pub. It also extends down Pecan Avenue, where Cheat's Cheesesteaks is.
  • Signs inform people when they are entering and exiting the limits.

5. The hours are 10am-10pm.

  • You can only drink outside between those hours. Any other time would be breaking the law.
  • If all goes smoothly with Plaza Midwood's social district, the district's hours could get extended.

The bottom line: Expect to notice the benefits of social districts most during events and festivals, especially when people can grab a to-go drink from inside a brewery or bar.

  • On a typical day, the social district gives people more reason to stick around and support local businesses. Plaza Midwood has endured a drop in foot traffic since COVID-19 and because of construction.
  • The open container district also encourages ridesharing, reducing demand for parking.

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