Three "Refreshment Areas" were established around Downtown Grand Rapids in July 2020 to promote outdoor business and recreation.

Within the Refreshment Areas, patrons of participating restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues may carry an open alcoholic beverage up to 16 ounces in a designated container.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. manages the Refreshment Area in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids and participating businesses.

Refreshment Rules

  • Drink from designated Refreshment containers only
  • Stay within the designated Refreshment Area. Look for signs indicating boundaries.
  • Do not carry Refreshments into businesses. They must remain outdoors.

Note: All State of Michigan and City of Grand Rapids laws apply, including but not limited to those prohibiting public intoxication, impaired driving, open containers and serving alcohol to minors.

Participating Locations

The City of Grand Rapids and Michigan Liquor Control Commission, to the best of our knowledge, have approved the following establishments to serve the Refreshment Areas, as of March 2021.

  • AC Hotel
  • Amway Grand Plaza
  • City Built
  • Courtyard Downtown
  • DeVos Place
  • Grand Rapids Brewing Company
  • Harmony Hall
  • HopCat
  • House Rules Board Game Lounge
  • House of Wine
  • Hyatt Place
  • JW Marriott
  • Linear
  • Luna
  • New Holland Brewing Co.
  • One Bourbon
  • Stella's Lounge
  • Tin Can
  • Uccello's

Several Downtown establishments are currently moving through the permit process, including but not limited to:

  • Atwater Brewery
  • Arktos Meadery
  • Butcher's Union
  • 20 Monroe Live
  • The B.O.B
  • Canopy by Hilton
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • City Flats
  • Embassy Suites
  • Ferris Coffee & Nut
  • Flanagan's Irish Pub
  • GR Noir
  • Homewood Suites
  • House Rules
  • O'Tooles Public House
  • Osteria Rossa
  • Parsley's
  • Peppino's
  • Reserve
  • Rocky's
  • San Chez Bistro
  • Slow's Bar BQ
  • Sparks BBQ
  • Steel Cat
  • Wise Men Distillery
  • Z's Bar & Restaurant

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Refreshment Areas in Downtown Grand Rapids?

Downtown Grand Rapids has three designated Refreshment Areas: Monroe North, Bridge Street and Downtown, which includes the central business district and the Hotel and Arena Districts. These three Refreshment Areas do not overlap and operate independently. Please see the map.

What types of alcoholic beverage can I purchase to carry around the designated Refreshment Areas?

Beer, wine, and liquor are all allowable drinks when served in a designated container. Drinks must be purchased inside a participating business.

What are the operating hours for the Refreshment Areas?

Sunday – Thursday 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM.

Friday – Saturday 7:00 AM until midnight.

Can I walk anywhere with my drink?

No. Patrons must stay within the designated Refreshment Area boundaries. Leaving a Refreshment Area with an alcoholic beverage violates State and local law.

Can I take my drink from one Refreshment Area to another?

No. Patrons cannot carry drinks between the three designated Refreshment Areas. Drinks must be consumed and disposed of within the Refreshment Area in which they were purchased.

Can I take my Refreshment into other businesses?

No. Once a designated Refreshment has left the business where it was served, it must be consumed before you enter any other establishment.

Can I take an empty designated Refreshment container into a business so I can reuse it?

No, you must throw away your Refreshment container before entering any business.

Can I bring my own alcoholic beverage, pour it into a designated Refreshment container, and walk around in a Refreshment Area?

No, the only drinks allowed are those purchased from businesses participating in the Refreshment Area program. No cans, glass bottles, or outside drinks are permitted within the boundaries per State and local law.


Resources for Businesses

The Michigan Legislature passed, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed, House Bill 5781 in the summer of 2020 empowering local communities to establish "Social Districts" as a tool to promote economic stabilization and recovery efforts amidst the pandemic.

Utilizing the new law, the Grand Rapids City Commission in July 2020 established Downtown Grand Rapids as a Social District and within that District created three Commons Area, referred to locally as Refreshment Areas.

Click here for a map of the Downtown Social District, three Refreshment Areas, management plan and eligible businesses.

Business interested to participate should follow this 4-step process:

  1. Complete Page 1 of the Social District Permit Application.
  2. Submit the application to Jessica Solis ( in the City of Grand Rapids Economic Development Office for Grand Rapids City Commission consideration.
  3. Contact Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. ( to connect on local Refreshment Area rules and designated container requirements.
  4. If and when City Commission approves the application, submit the 'Social District Permit Application' AND the 'Local Governmental Unit Approval For Social District Permit' to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Click here for additional Social District Permit Information from the State of Michigan.

Additional Resources for Businesses

To help inform staff and patrons about the Refreshment Areas, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the City of Grand Rapids produced the following informational brochures for each of three Refreshment Areas.

These digital files are designed for use on mobile devices. Please contact Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. ( to request printed flyers for your business.