Proposal would allow people to drink in approved areas between Denver businesses

DENVER -- A new proposal would allow people to consume alcoholic beverages in certain areas between businesses in the city of Denver.

In 2011, the legislature approved a law that lets cities designate enclosed areas where one can legally consume alcohol from a neighboring business. Aurora, Fort Collins and Greeley are some of the cities who have adopted the measure. Now, Denver is preparing a 5-year pilot program.

“We’ve been working on it for almost 18 months now, reaching out to communities, talking to City Council about it,” said executive director of Denver’s Excises and Licenses Department Ashley Kilroy.

Kilroy says they have already talked to the city’s business committee about the idea and hope to formally introduce the draft in June. If approved, it would head to council to go through readings and a vote.

“It is not going to be Bourbon Street or Las Vegas,” Kilroy said. “It’s not an open container or open consumption.”

Basically, businesses would pool together and designate an outdoor or indoor zone -- like an alleyway that connects businesses -- as a social place where patrons can bring alcoholic drinks. Under the proposal, one could not bring a drink from one liquor-licensed establishment into another liquor-licensed establishment. One could bring the drink into a boutique or shop that doesn’t sell liquor if they are a part of the agreed-upon area.

For venues with multiple businesses, like The Source, individual business owners like the idea of letting guests mingle and explore more.

“I think the cohesiveness for the guest experience will allow them to experience multiple spots,” said Smok Owner William Espiricueta. “All working together, I think it lends a lot of value for everyone.”

Businesses would need evidence of community support before applying. Under the current proposal, the areas would have to close no later than 2 a.m.

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