Feb 28, 2023 - News

Arena District's outdoor drinking zone grows

The area surrounding Nationwide Arena is part of the Arena District DORA zone. Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Columbus is saying "cheers" to a livelier Arena District by greatly expanding its outdoor drinking program.

Driving the news: A new ordinance approved by the City Council last night allows the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) to be active during any Arena District event, not just sports-related ones.

Why it matters: The expansion is meant to draw more visitors to that area of downtown, support those businesses and alleviate the confusion surrounding when DORA rules are in place.

How it works: Ohio bars and restaurants can sell alcoholic drinks in specially marked plastic cups to be consumed outdoors but within specified boundaries, typically a city's downtown business district.

Zoom in: The Arena District DORA includes the length of Nationwide Boulevard and areas surrounding Nationwide Arena, Huntington Park and Lower.com Field.

  • The program is now active three hours before the start of a game or another event at any of the three stadiums and concludes at midnight.

The big picture: Ten other Franklin County communities have also established DORAs, including Hilliard, Dublin and Gahanna.

Meanwhile, Pickerington and Reynoldsburg have considered DORAs to make their respective "Olde Village" and "Olde Reynoldsburg" downtown areas more vibrant, but neither has yet done so.

What’s next: The Arena District ordinance was passed with an emergency clause, meaning it can take immediate effect with the mayor’s approval.

  • The change is timed perfectly for local concertgoers, with four shows on Nationwide Arena's calendar through next week, starting with Carrie Underwood on Saturday.
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