Denverites will soon be able to drink alcohol in public outside some bars and restaurants — but interested businesses must go through some hoops first.
The City Council passed a bill in November to let businesses with liquor licenses create designated areas where consumers can walk around with their drinks. The so-called liquor common consumption ordinance created a five-year pilot program, but the areas probably won’t start popping up around Denver until spring.
City staff and stakeholders are still working out the specifics, including the size of the areas, what participating businesses have to do to ensure safety, how much insurance they need to carry and what they need to establish as part of their sanitation plans, said Eric Escudero, a spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses.
Advocates are quick to point out that this new law isn’t open carry and Denver isn’t planning to become the next Bourbon Street or Las Vegas Strip. The common consumption areas are a result of a state law passed in 2011 allowing communities to set up entertainment districts. Denver explored the idea in 2013 but began actively pursuing it after renewed interest in 2017.
“We do believe that common consumption creates consumer-friendly environments that help with community building and that are a tremendous benefit to all the businesses in the immediate area,” said Brent Berkowitz, the chief operating officer of Sage Restaurant Group, at a council business committee meeting in October.
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Here’s the what, how and when, as provided by Escudero:
What is a common consumption area?
A common consumption area is a designated space where existing businesses with liquor licenses near each other have banded together to allow people 21 and older to take their alcohol into the common area and drink.
The areas will only be in parts of the city that are already “densely populated” with liquor licenses and are part of entertainment districts. One entertainment district, which is restricted to 100 acres and a minimum of 20,000 square feet of liquor licenses, can have multiple common consumption areas, though each common consumption area will have to go through a separate approval process for licensing. Consumers won’t be allowed to carry around their alcohol outside of those designated areas.
The areas have to close by 2 a.m., and the businesses in charge must provide extra security and sanitation in those areas. If the areas are outdoors and plan to use street space, they have to make sure to close roads to traffic. The drinks have to be in special cups that show the business’ name.
The pilot program has no limit on the number of areas allowed in the city, but interested businesses have to go through a lot of steps before approval.
Andy Cross, The Denver PostGreg Bogan, bar lead at the Isabel bar, makes lime juice for cocktails at The Source November 19, 2019. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)How does the process for approval work?
Applicants have to …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Politics