Charlotte Social Districts
Social districts are areas where people can walk with open, to-go containers of alcoholic beverages in a contiguous area. A social district may include both indoor and outdoor areas of businesses within the defined district during the days and hours established for the social district.
This page will be updated with additional resources and information as social districts are approved by City Council.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a social district?
Social districts are contiguous areas in which people can walk with open, to-go containers of alcoholic beverages.
Beverages must be purchased from a bar, restaurant or other establishment permitted by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, and consumed within the boundaries and hours of the social district. Containers are labeled with the social district's logo to identify where the drink was purchased and is allowed.
A business located within the social district can decide whether to participate in the activities of the district. Indoor and outdoor areas of a business may be included in the district.
Allows for the creation of social districts in Charlotte. Each district must be approved by the Charlotte City Council.
Adopts requirements provided by the state.
Directs city staff to develop an application for creating a social district.
Allows public comment on proposed districts on a case-by-case basis.
Requires the City Council to approve each district's cup design and material.
The ordinance does not:
Create new social districts.
Impose additional standards beyond those established by the state.
Recommend single-use plastic cups.
Immediately open an application process upon the ordinance's adoption by the council.
Address outstanding concerns in neighborhoods with existing ABC-permitted businesses.
Who approves a social district?
Any district must first be approved by the Charlotte City Council and named and designated in city code. The ABC Commission has final approval.
Note, the council's approval of the ordinance on Aug. 22, 2022, simply allowed the city to consider community proposals for creating new districts.
Where can a social district be established and what are the requirements?
In general, an area with multiple ABC-permit-holding businesses may become a social district. To be approved, each new district must:
Establish boundaries, and days and hours of operation, and signage with this information.
Develop a management and maintenance plan.
Have labeled containers (no glass, maximum 16 ounces) for ABC-permitted establishments in the district.
Have signage for establishments within the district that do not sell alcohol, but allow consumption on their premises during social district hours.
For detailed information on the requirements, please reference the Social Districts Standards and Provisions(PDF, 1MB).
How can I apply to establish a social district?
The first step is to submit a pre-application through the embedded form below! This will allow City staff to assess your request and setup a time to meet with you to discuss your proposal. The entire application process is detailed in the Social Districts Standards and Provisions(PDF, 1MB).
Who do I contact for more information?
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.