CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lake Norman's new social district kicks off Thursday with the inaugural St. Paddy's Day Bar Crawl in Old Town Cornelius.
“I think it’s fantastic that they’re doing this," Cornelius resident Ryan O’Donnell said.
The Lake Norman Social District is a joint venture between Old Town Public House and THIGS Cocktail Bar, marking the first social district in Mecklenburg County. Guests will be allowed to take alcoholic beverages between the venues, and there will be food trucks with live music, giveaways, drink specials and more.
The Cornelius Town Board unanimously approved a temporary ordinance in February to allow the St. Paddy's Day Bar Crawl, allowing people who can legally drink alcohol to consume outside businesses and restaurants participating in the event.
The St. Paddy's Day Bar Crawl runs from noon until 10 p.m.
“It will give customers more freedom to roam around and have a few drinks,” Megan Blythe, an employee at Thigs Lake Norman, said.
Blythe said the temporary ordinance could be their business' lucky charm.
“Help us with the foot traffic coming in," Blythe said. "I’m excited to see where this takes us especially in this area because it is booming and growing so fast.”
Lake Norman Social District rules
- No glass containers
- Drinks cannot be more than 16 ounces
- All cups must have a Lake Norman Social District logo
- Cornelius police and participating businesses will enforce the social district's boundaries
Hickory business owners said the new district is a way to encourage social events for all ages and boost the local economy.
“I think this is just one of the many that are coming and if all goes well I hope to see a bunch of places," Blythe said.
"I think it will definitely drive business," Kristi Carpenter, general manager of the Hickory Wine Shoppe, said. "I also think that our customers will love the freedom of being able to go shopping in the other local businesses with their glass of wine."
Social districts have been allowed in North Carolina since the General Assembly passed a law in September that allows local governments to create spaces where people can drink outside of restaurants and bars in designated areas. Similar ordinances are in place in major cities like Las Vegas and New Orleans.
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