Alcohol farm

Social Neighborhood opens Monday in downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH, North Carolina — New drinking rules go into effect Monday in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh’s social district opens at 11 a.m., allowing people to stroll the streets with open-container alcoholic beverages sold by licensed restaurants and bars.

The social district encompasses Fayetteville Street from the State Capitol to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and includes the Red Hat Amphitheater. City Market is part of the proposed area while Moore Square and Nash Square are not. Dawson, Morgan, Blount, and South streets form the neighborhood boundary.

The social district will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

“I’m optimistic this will get people coming in and grabbing a takeout,” said James Goertz of Short Walk Wines.

Signs are posted around the social quarter to tell people where they can and cannot drink.

Restaurants will sell wine, beer and cocktails in special plastic cups for customers who want to order takeout. There will be no glass containers.

The original goal was for the city to have its social district in place by summer with the idea of ​​bringing more foot traffic to downtown Raleigh.

“I think the best case scenario is that it gets people spending more time downtown [to] sort of lengthen their commutes to downtown,” Bill King, president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Several municipalities in North Carolina already have social districts in place, including Greensboro, Hickory, Kannapolis, Monroe, Newton, Norwood, Salisbury and Sylva.

Other municipalities in the state are also considering social districts, including Albemarle, Charlotte, Durham, High Point, New Bern, Waynesville, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.