City of Denver set to finalize rules on liquor common consumption

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DENVER — Denver is set to revive a plan to allow you to walk around with alcohol beverages through certain common areas of the city.

The common consumption plan was approved by city council in late 2019. The pandemic prevented the city from finalizing rules.

“We didn’t plan for a pandemic,” said Eric Escudero with Denver Excise & Licenses. “Common consumption could be the boost everyone needs. This could actually be a great thing.”

This week, the city of Denver is set to finalize the rules to allow entertainment districts where patrons can carry around open alcohol containers.

“In that designated area someone could go purchase a drink at the Italian restaurant and walk over to the area where someone could purchase a margarita from the Mexican restaurant,” Escudero explained. “You won’t have to separate anymore.”

Denver7 talked with Pierce McKenna, the general manager at First Draft Taproom & Kitchen in Denver’s RINO district. He says the pour-your-own beer establishment he runs just got 5-Star variance approval. Although that certainly helps with indoor capacity limits, McKenna says common consumption would be a game changer when it comes to a post-pandemic rebound.

“I sort of see some kind of festival sort of a spot with little pockets in the city, especially with big blocks shut down,” McKenna said.

The Dairy Block in downtown Denver is a prime candidate for common consumption. The urban complex is set in an alley with different vendors.

General Manager Dan Cloutier believes the already creative set up at the Dairy Block would make for a smooth transition. He says he’s all about joining forces with everyone doing business in the alley.

“It allowed us to prove to Excise & Licenses and everyone involved, that we can have booze flow in the alley,” Cloutier explained. “Now the next step is to have it come from each of the outlets.”

As bars and restaurants fight to stay open, the common consumption business plan could very well be the boost everyone needs.

Denver won’t look like New Orleans or Las Vegas. The designated areas will be strictly enforced. The zones can’t be any larger than 100 acres.

Escudero says businesses can possibly start applying by late summer, at the earliest.

For more information on common consumption areas and how they work, click here.