The outdoor "Refreshment Area" was established Downtown Grand Rapids in July 2020 to promote outdoor business and recreation.
Within the Refreshment Area, patrons of participating restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues may carry an open alcoholic beverage up to 16 ounces in a designated container.
Click here to download a mobile-friendly guide to the Downtown Refreshment Area.
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. manages the Refreshment Area in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids and participating businesses.
- 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.
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
- Arktos Meadery
- Atwater Brewery
- City Built
- Condado Tacos
- Courtyard Downtown
- DeVos Place
- Flanagan's Irish Pub
- Grand Rapids Brewing Company
- Harmony Hall
- House Rules Board Game Lounge
- House of Wine
- Hyatt Place
- JW Marriott
- New Holland Brewing Co.
- One Bourbon
- Stella's Lounge
- Tin Can
- Z's Bar & Restaurant
Several Downtown establishments are currently moving through the permit process, including but not limited to:
- Butcher's Union
- 20 Monroe Live
- The B.O.B
- Canopy by Hilton
- Cinco de Mayo
- City Flats
- Embassy Suites
- Ferris Coffee & Nut
- GR Noir
- Homewood Suites
- Little Bird
- O'Tooles Public House
- Osteria Rossa
- San Chez Bistro
- Slow's Bar BQ
- Sparks BBQ
- Steel Cat
- Wise Men Distillery
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Refreshment Area in Downtown Grand Rapids?
The Refreshment Area Downtown generally includes the central business district, the Hotel and Arena districts, the Monroe North neighborhood and the Bridge Street corridor. Look for orange border signage on the sidewalk and light posts.
What types of alcoholic beverage can I purchase to carry around the designated Refreshment Area?
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 Area?
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 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 the 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 the Downtown Refreshment Area.
Business interested to participate should follow this 4-step process:
- Complete Page 1 of the Social District Permit Application.
- Submit the application to Jessica Solis (email@example.com) in the City of Grand Rapids Economic Development Office for Grand Rapids City Commission consideration.
- Contact Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org) to connect on local Refreshment Area rules and designated container requirements.
- 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.
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 flyer for the Refreshment Area.