Anoka approves state’s first social district, allowing public consumption in certain area

The city of Anoka has approved a plan for a first-of-its-kind area in Minnesota.

Starting on Sept. 6, the city will officially have a social district, a specific area where people can buy alcohol from a licensed business and drink it while enjoying the common area.

It’s part of a pilot program that was approved by state lawmakers as part of the 2022 omnibus liquor bill. The plan was then finalized and approved by the Anoka City Council on Monday.

The city says the social district will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day from Sept. 6 through Oct. 7.

The launch event on Sept. 6 will feature the Rockin’ on the Rum concert at Riverfront Memorial Park, which is in the social district boundaries, and the city says several other events are planned during the month-long pilot.

While public consumption is allowed in the special area as long as it’s from a licensed business in the district, all laws regarding public intoxication, impaired driving and open containers still apply both inside and outside the boundaries. Signage will also be displayed to define the boundaries and let visitors know where their social district cups can’t travel beyond.

After the pilot program is finished, the city says staff will gather information and report back to its city council and the state to develop a plan for future years and other cities.

More information on the social district is available online.