Avondale Estates City Commission creates an entertainment districtJune 12, 2014: Guests line up at the bar at the grand opening of the Wild Heaven brewery in Avondale Estates. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
Avondale Estates, GA — Avondale Estates will now allow residents and visitors to walk around the downtown area with a drink in hand. The city, which was recently named USA Today’s “Best Small Town Beer Scene” created an entertainment district on Wednesday, June 23, after the City Commission unanimously passed the ordinance.
The City Commission began talking about this about two years ago but tabled the discussion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Avondale Estates Downtown Development Authority recently made the recommendation that the city reconsider creating the entertainment district, City Manager Patrick Bryant said.
The entertainment district is within the central business district, along North Avondale Road with borders on Sam’s Crossing to the west, the MARTA tracks to the north and the eastern border is on Laredo Drive and Ashton Place. The ordinance allows open containers of alcohol in the entertainment district.
The ordinance allows alcohol sales on the premises of businesses, like a restaurant, within the boundaries of the entertainment district to serve beverages on open areas, decks, patios or similar unenclosed spaces.
Restaurants within the district would no longer have to submit an application to the city for patio sales, as it will be included in the alcohol license. Although, businesses outside the entertainment district would have to apply for patio sales, Bryant said at the June 9 City Commission meeting.
“The reason the state legislature provides for this exemption is as an economic development tool to help drive business to your local establishments. We expect that this will increase sales by our licensed alcohol providers,” Bryant said at the June 23 City Commission meeting. “It will also provide for the opportunity for us to recruit additional business and also recruit new events to happen within the CBD as well.”
Businesses will have to give patrons an approved 12-ounce plastic cup within the entertainment district and participating businesses would bear the cost of the cups, Bryant said. The cup would display the designated logo or mark approved by the city manager. There is a one-cup limit for each person who has an open container.
“The reason for that provision, the uniformed cup for all licensed alcohol providers to use is so that we can actually enforce the law. Without the uniformed cup, we can’t enforce the law because we wouldn’t be able to know where that alcohol came from,” Bryant said.
He added that the uniformed cups would also help ensure that visitors of the entertainment who purchase an alcoholic beverage are of legal drinking age.
Businesses will be required to put up a sign that shows the entertainment district’s boundaries and informs patrons they can be arrested or cited for leaving the area with an open container. The ordinance also does not create a full open container law, so someone could not bring their own alcohol to the area and drink it.
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