El Dorado approves public drinking in entertainment district


EL DORADO, Arkansas (07/19/2019) — Anyone over the age of 21 will now be able to publicly carry and consume alcoholic beverages in El Dorado.

The El Dorado City Council approved the decision at Thursday’s council meeting. El Dorado has become the second city in the state to approve public drinking in its entertainment district.

This decision was possible due to Act 812 that was passed in April. It allowed Arkansas cities to designate areas where outdoor alcohol consumption would be allowed.

The law will take effect July 24. While the option of public consumption and carry of alcohol will be public, there are still restrictions people have to follow.

According to the ordinance:

  • A person can enter a premise with an open or closed container of alcoholic beverages acquired elsewhere only if allowed by that premises.
  • A licensee shall allow alcoholic beverages to be removed from the licensed premises only in a paper or plastic cup, not in a can, bottle or glass container. This will only be permitted if sold by an organization doing so under a special event or temporary permit.
  • No licensee shall allow a patron, guest or member to exit its licensed premises with more than one open container of alcoholic beverages
  • No container shall exceed 16 fluid ounces in size; No person shall possess on the streets, sidewalks, right-of-ways,parking lots or outdoor public areas located within the entertainment district any open alcoholic beverage container which exceeds 16 fluid ounces in size.
  • All licensees with the entertainment district shall place a trash receptacle at all exits of premises and post the rules of the entertainment district and map of the entertainment district boundaries.
  • Licensees and organizations with special event or temporary permits may apply to the Mayor’s office to activate the entertainment district on Sunday through Wednesdays for special events.
  • It is unlawful for any person to consume alcoholic beverages or possess an open container of any alcoholic beverages while in the confines of a motor vehicle while the vehicle is located on an public street, parking lot or other place to which the public has or is permitted to have access within an entertainment district.
  • Alcoholic beverages purchased outside of the entertainment district are not allowed in open containers in the district.

Main Street El Dorado and the Murphy Arts District presented the ordinance to the council. Pam Griffin, Chief Operating Officer at MAD, says she has been in communication with police, the city, residents, businesses and churches to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand.

“We want downtown El Dorado to continue to be very family friendly and clean and an enjoyable place for people to come,” Griffin said.

While this will be a way to boost tourism in the town, leaders believe this will reduce people from over-indulging.

“You can take your drink to go and enjoy it as you walk through our downtown area during events instead of having to finish one drink in one establishment and get another drink at another establishment,” she said.

The map below shows the areas people will be lawfully able to publicly consume and carry alcohol.

The Entertainment District will be designating streets with red cross walks outlined in white to make sure people know how far they can go with their alcohol. This will also be made available on the district app for visitors.

This will only be available Thursdays through Sundays from noon until 2 a.m.

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