Majority of bars in Anoka ‘social district’ on board with public consumption pilot project
From Sept. 6 through Oct. 7 in Anoka, you’ll be able to take an alcoholic drink — in a specific cup that’ll have the city’s logo on it — outside with you to walk what will be known as the “social district.”
After approval from the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year and Anoka City Council this week, people will be able to buy beer, wine and cocktails from specific restaurants and walk the main stretch of town.
“So maybe they sip and stroll, if you want to call it that,” Anoka Community Development Director Doug Borglund said.
Drinks must be kept within the bounds of the district map and “if you buy a drink from business A, you can’t bring it over into business B and so forth,” Borgland explained.
The social district starts just north of East Main Street, running up Second Avenue to Harrison Street. It also includes the restaurants on Jackson Street, which runs perpendicular to Second Avenue.
“Yeah we are, we’re on board,” 201 Tavern & Grill owner Gloria Cichocki-Nelson said in an interview on her Jackson Street restaurant patio.
Cichocki-Nelson is looking forward to the extra business expected to come from people coming in for a takeout drink.
“A lot of people actually think they could do that already, which they can’t. So it’ll be kind of nice to actually be legal,” she said.
There are about a dozen restaurants within the social district, Borglund tallied, adding, “But not all of them are participating. There’s a couple that are, I think, maybe are waiting to see what happens or how this works out.”
“The trial’s what kind of got me,” added Cichocki-Nelson. “It’s a great opportunity because there are hesitations, reservations. So this month gives us a real chance to, you know, decide the big picture of it.”
“We have a pumpkin roundabout,” Borglund said. “So why not do something that is going to attract people to the downtown, give them a different type of experience and maybe encourage them to come back.
The social district is expected to kick off on Sept. 6 with the Rockin’ on the Rum concert at Riverfront Memorial Park and run through Oct. 7.
At that point, it’ll be up to City Council again whether it becomes more permanent.