As We See It

Some clarification on legal drinking in public

The exterior setup at Casa Don Juan for First Friday.
Bill Hughes

Arts Factory owner Wes Myles ran into a new problem last week when filing monthly First Friday permits with the city. He was told that nonprofit group Whirlygig’s two-month departure from the festival resulted in a new hurdle for the temporary bar he places right on Charleston Boulevard outside the Arts Factory: Myles must provide a plan that shows how he will restrict customers from leaving the property with drinks. No more grabbing a beer to walk the neighborhood.

It turned out that the absence of Metro officers, paid for each month by Whirlygig, meant clamping down on all businesses requesting permits for First Friday alcohol vending. Myles, fuming over the new rule, blurted, “God forbid somebody should walk by with a yard-long!” That got us wondering: What would happen if someone did walk down the sidewalk with a yard-long margarita, much like they do on the Strip and Fremont Street? Can’t we stroll anywhere in the Valley with a cocktail in hand?

It turns out that yes, we can. According to Metro, the city and the county, it’s acceptable to have an open container anywhere except where it’s prohibited: within 1,000 feet of the store where the liquor was purchased, certain parks, parking lots and within 1,000 feet of a church, synagogue, school, hospital or special care facility or homeless shelter. As for businesses wanting to set up outside alcohol vendors for First Friday, they still have to follow the rules of the city’s Special Events Permits, unless Whirlygig or some other entity hires Metro for security.

As for yourself, if you want to wander with a beer, you’ll have to buy it from somewhere not involved with the festival.

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Kristen Peterson

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