ALBEMARLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Soon, the downtown streets of Albemarle will be covered in folks walking around with alcoholic beverages. 

Starting Saturday, the city’s social district will allow people who visit establishments permitted by North Carolina’s ABC commission to take a drink into public areas within the social district.

Tiffany Dahl owns a bar downtown called The Boardroom — she says the new initiative helps small businesses.

“It’s going to promote more people to come in even if it’s just to buy a beer on their walk down to the next store or whatever so yeah I’m excited,” Dahl said. 

From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day will cover the area from the Five Points District to the East to Market Station to the West with North Street to the North and South Street to the South as the boundaries.

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“Being able to see the social district live and in action being a part of it, I work at three of the restaurants downtown, it is amazing the opportunities for our small business and you know the people in our community, it’s really eye-opening and inspirational because we’re about to take off, I’m so excited,” said Tonia Dennis. She’s lived in the city her whole life. She says the growth has been amazing. 

Non-ABC-permitted businesses in the social district may also allow visitors to bring alcoholic beverages inside their location.

The city provided specially made labels for to-go cups — while some bars like Badin brews made their own social district to-go cups.

Visitors to the district are not allowed to bring and consume their own alcoholic beverages –

Once you leave an establishment where you bought an alcoholic beverage, you have to finish the beverage or throw it away before you go into a different business that serves alcohol. 

And all alcohol in open containers must be disposed of before exiting the district or entering a vehicle.

Albemarle Mayor Ronnie Michael says the initiative came because the area is growing. Over the last 2 years, the city has approved over 3000 new homes to be built.

“We are seeing an explosion of growth coming to our community, also we’re in the process of building a business center which will give us an opportunity to recruit an industry to provide jobs for these people.”