Cheers To That: Hickory Downtown Social District Will Allow Alcoholic Drinks On Sidewalks, Public Areas

HICKORY, N.C. — The City of Hickory will be getting a little more social as citizens will soon be allowed to enjoy alcoholic drinks in its newly revitalized downtown area.

The city approved the new district, branded the Hickory Downtown Social District, that goes into effect on March 15. The district will allow customers of downtown ABC permitted establishments to drink an alcoholic drink on sidewalks and public areas within the social district.

Hickory was able to designate this social district following legislation that was approved by the N.C. General Assembly in September 2021.

The Hickory Downtown Social District includes:

  • Union Square
  • Portions of First Avenue NW, Trade Alley NW, Main Avenue, and Government Avenue SW

According to a news release, the district is roughly bounded by Fourth Street on the west, First Avenue SW and Government Avenue SW to the south, Second Street NE/SE and Main Avenue Way SW to the east, and First Avenue NW to the north. Signage is in place to mark the boundaries of the district.

Customers who buy an alcoholic drink from an ABC permitted bar, restaurant, or brewery within the district will be allowed to take the drink outside of the establishment and drink it on the sidewalks, Union Square, or other public areas inside of the social district.

“Hickory’s revitalized downtown lends itself to this type of social district. We renovated Union Square and the surrounding block to be an inviting space for people of all ages to enjoy. We created additional areas for people to dine outdoors, meet with others, and enjoy downtown entertainment,” said Hickory Mayor Hank Guess. “This new social district further promotes spending time outdoors, supporting local businesses, and taking advantage of the community atmosphere created in our revitalized downtown.”

Several restrictions will be in place to ensure the downtown area remains a safe, family-friendly destination including:

  • Alcoholic beverages may be consumed in the Hickory Downtown Social District from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • No outside alcohol is permitted within the district. All alcoholic beverages must be purchased from establishments located within or contiguous to the district (in specially labeled cups) and must be consumed within the district.
  • ABC permitted establishments must ensure they meet all legal requirements for carding and limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • The establishment can only serve two beers/wine drinks or one liquor drink to one patron at a time.
  • Upon leaving an establishment where an alcoholic beverage is purchased, the beverage must be consumed or discarded before entering a different business that serves alcohol.
  • No alcoholic beverages may be brought into or consumed within Lowes Foods City Park.
  • All alcohol in open containers must be disposed of before exiting the district or entering a vehicle.
  • Hickory Police Officers will enforce the restrictions of the Hickory Downtown Social District.

For more information about the Hickory Downtown Social District and a detailed map of the coverage area, click here.