Middletown’s outdoor drinking area is about to get bigger

Middletown has moved to boost the size of its downtown Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area.

City Council last week approved the latest expansion of the downtown DORA district, which went into operation three years ago. The expanded area is bordered by Central Avenue, Philadelphia Avenue, Curtis Street and Garfield Street.

The new zone would include the Middletown Lyric Theater on Central Avenue.

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City Manager Doug Adkins made the request to expand the DORA district and certified that the area with the addition will be less than one-half square mile in size, that there was at least one permit-holder in the expanded area and that it was in accord with the city’s master plan to promote increased businesses, tourism and economic development.

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Middletown was the first DORA district approved in the state of Ohio. Such a district allows patrons to consume alcoholic beverages outside of bars within the boundaries each day from noon to midnight.

While the district is an open container area, the beverages must be purchased at specially licensed establishments within the DORA, according to city officials. Patrons can purchase the drinks and walk around with them, but they cannot take that beverage into another establishment. Rules also do not allow people to bring their own beverages into that area and drink there.

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Starting Jan. 1, bar patrons will be charged $1 for a dated wristband allowing them to participate in the drinking area. Those consuming an alcoholic beverage without the dated wristband or DORA cup could be cited for having an open container.

In early May, Hamilton created a DORA district for its downtown area.

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