Cincinnati Open Container Districts May Soon Be Reality

Posted On: December 17th, 2015 by Bradley J. Groene

Ever since Gov. John Kasich signed a bill this past April allowing cities to create open container districts in cities in Ohio, much debate has surrounded where these entertainment districts would eventually be located and what they would look like. Now it seems we have a couple of real models for comparison. Middletown approved the state’s first outdoor public-drinking “refreshment area” in November. The Toledo City Council has just approved another, which will be near downtown Toledo along Adams Street in the UpTown neighborhood.

These first approvals have increased speculation that Cincinnati’s own open container districts may soon be a reality, especially as Cincinnati officials were behind the original legislation. The hope was that the law could be passed in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July, but the late passage of the bill made the plan unfeasible. Still, many Cincinnati businesses and residents have expressed interest in approving such a district now.

Where Will Cincinnati’s Two Allowed Outdoor Drinking Districts Be Located?

The Banks along the riverfront was originally to be the first outdoor drinking district, but debates on applicable regulations and contributions from local businesses are ongoing. While The Banks remains a viable candidate as one of Cincinnati’s two allowed open container districts, other contenders have been discussed as either an additional zone or even alternatives.

The Cincinnati Council is currently looking over proposals for open container zones and many have suggested that City Manager Harry Black will make his official recommendations about one or even both soon. Other proposed refreshment areas include Over-the-Rhine’s brewery district and Washington Park, although both have expressed a disinterest in such plans at the moment. Other neighborhoods, however, are starting to see such a district as a boon to local businesses. Madeira residents, for example, have discussed an open container district as an option to help revitalize the historic district around the B&B Mower site and along Railroad Avenue.

Regardless of what eventual plans hold, some Cincinnati residents are anxious to see what Black will suggest for the city soon. In the meantime, however, old open container laws prevail everywhere in Cincinnati, so you must be careful to keep your drinking confined to places where it is permitted, especially during this holiday season when police patrols are increased. If you are arrested for open container violations or any other alcohol-related offenses this holiday season, make sure to take such charges seriously. Even a misdemeanor for something so minor can come back to affect your life later.

Call Brad Groene, the lead Cincinnati alcohol lawyer at Luftman, Heck, and Associates, right away at (513) 338-1890 to set up a free consultation on your case. We’ve available 24/7 when clients need legal counsel, even during the holidays.