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New 'social district' approved in downtown Kannapolis

This new social district is the first of its kind allowed under a new law in North Carolina.

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Kannapolis City Council has approved a designated social district in downtown Kannapolis, which is the first of its kind in North Carolina.

This comes after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law that eased some restrictions on alcohol in the state. The new law allows cities to create districts where people can drink outside of restaurants and bars in certain areas. 

The newly-approved West Avenue District will allow patrons of select downtown ABC establishments to drink an alcoholic beverage on sidewalks and public areas in the social district. It includes portions of West Avenue, Oak Avenue, Vance Street, Laureate Way, Cannon Baller Way, West B Street, and Main Street.

RELATED: New NC law eases restrictions on alcohol

Customers who buy an alcoholic drink at Chophouse 101, Sabor, or Old Armor Beer Company will be allowed to take the drink outside of the restaurant and drink it on the sidewalks or public areas inside of the social district.

"We specially created areas where people could dine outdoors and this legislation allows people to buy an alcoholic beverage and food at our new restaurants and brewery and sit outdoors and enjoy their meal,” Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg said.

Several restrictions will be in place to ensure the downtown area remains a safe family-friendly destination.

“The West Avenue District lends itself to this type of social district," Legg said. "We revitalized our downtown area to be a place where people of all ages can enjoy themselves." 

Supporting businesses say the change will be an added benefit attracting more people to the downtown area.

“It allows people to not only see the city but also enjoy the beverages of the city," said Stefan Perrien, head brewer at Old Armor Beer Company. "I think it’s amazing for the city and the city is really going to thrive.”

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There are some guidelines for ABC permitted establishments in this district:

  • The establishment must ensure they meet all legal requirements for carding and limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages. 
  • The establishment can also only serve two beers/wine drinks or one liquor drink to one patron at a time.

There are also some guidelines for drinks and patrons in this district: 

  • Drinks must be purchased and consumed within the boundaries of the West Avenue District.
  • Anyone with a drink in the designated West Avenue District must throw away the drink before leaving the district.
  • Drinks must be in specially labeled cups which will be sold by establishments in the West Avenue District. 
  • Drinks must be less than 16 ounces.
  • Drinks will only be allowed in the district from 10 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays and noon to midnight on Sundays.
  • Once the patron leaves the establishment with the drink container, the patron cannot enter any other building downtown or a vehicle without discarding the drink.

Officers with the Kannapolis Police Department will enforce the restrictions of the West Avenue District.

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The Atrium Health Ballpark will not be part of the district at this time. Any alcoholic beverages purchased at the ballpark will need to be consumed and discarded before leaving the ballpark.  Additionally, no alcoholic beverages purchased from other establishments may be brought inside the ballpark.

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