Jul 5, 2022 - Food and Drink

Here's where you'll be able to drink on the street in Raleigh

A map showing the boundaries of a new social drinking district in downtown Raleigh.
A proposed map of Raleigh's first social district, centered around Fayetteville Street. Photo: City of Raleigh

You soon will be able to drink on the street in parts of downtown Raleigh.

Driving the news: On Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council unanimously approved the city's first social district, which will allow people to drink outside around Fayetteville Street beginning Aug. 15.

  • The district will exist first as a pilot, giving the city time to determine whether to keep the designation.
  • It was pitched as a way to reinvigorate downtown's core around Fayetteville Street, an office-filled area where foot traffic has been sluggish since the pandemic.

Details: The social district will end at 10 p.m. every night.

  • Patrons cannot bring their own alcoholic beverages to the district.
  • And all to-go drinks must be in branded cups.

Of note: Glenwood South, downtown’s most popular drinking area, was not included in the social district.

What they're saying: "What we want to see, ideally, is increased activity, but not increased problems," Bill King, CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, told Axios. "We don't want to see noise increase. We don't want to see trash and litter increase. And we don't want to see issues of misbehavior."

  • King noted one potential activity created by the district is the ability to walk from dinner with a drink to a concert at Red Hat Amphitheater or a show at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Zoom out: The state passed a law last year to give cities leeway to create social districts.

  • Some cities, like Greensboro, have already created their own social districts, while Charlotte is still considering adding one.
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