Savannah, Georgia, has an interesting vibe on the streets of its historic district. People smile and laugh as they shop and walk around with plastic cups, or “to-go cups,” containing alcohol. After stopping at a restaurant for a bite and a drink, if you like, the establishment will give you a plastic cup to which you may transfer your alcoholic beverage and take it with you.
The law in Savannah begins by prohibiting open containers of alcoholic beverages on the streets, sidewalks, parks, etc., but then lists exceptions. These exceptions allow people to openly carry adult beverages as long as they are contained in plastic cups and remain within designated zones. The historic district is within such a designated zone. The law specifically lists the outer streets defining the zones. Cans, gottles, or other glass containers are not permitted. The seller of alcoholic beverages may only permit one to-go cup per person and it can be no larger than 16 oz.
Roswell, Georgia, not too far from Savannah, has similar laws. The Roswell City Counsel voted unanimously to allow to-go adult beverages in certain “carry districts,” also specifically delineating those boundaries. Roswell laws also impose a 16 oz limit, and additionally include a time limit from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Like the above areas in Georgia, walking around in pubic with open containers of alcohol in Colorado is largely illegal, but there are exceptions. In Colorado, these exceptions also come from local laws rather than state laws. In 2011, the Colorado legislature passed a bill permitting local governments to license and regulate alcohol consumption on the streets in areas called an entertainment district. People may only have open alcohol containers when walking within the boundaries of those districts. These laws are often referred to as “common consumption” laws.
For example, the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, Colorado, is such an area. People can bring drinks from nearby establishments through the area after obtaining a disposable plastic cup from the bar or restaurant in which to transfer their alcoholic beverage. Denver is working on similar common consumption laws, but is still figuring out the details, such as what the restricted locations will be.
The city of Glendale is working on an entertainment district on the banks of Cherry Creek, expected to have a common consumption area. Fort Collins has a common consumption area in Old Town. There are other common consumption areas in Colorado as well. It is expected that more areas will continue to spring up throughout the nation as their popularity grows.