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Gainesville carves out downtown dining district for public alcohol consumption
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Kelly Mullins chats with friends on the sidewalk outside Downtown Drafts in Gainesville in late July. - photo by David Barnes

Gainesville officials unveiled a map establishing broad boundary lines for allowing dining patrons to consume alcohol in public downtown.

The so-called downtown dining district will be bordered by Jesse Jewell Parkway, E.E. Butler Parkway, West Academy Street and Academy Street, City Manager Bryan Lackey told city council members at a work session Thursday.

“It is fairly simple,” Lackey said, in identifying the broad area within the boundaries that will be known as the dining district.

City officials had to carve out the dining district after council approved on first reading a package of reforms to the city’s alcohol ordinance. Among the reforms is one that allows the consumption of alcohol from a 16-ounce clear plastic cup by pedestrians.

Lackey said the change made it necessary to identify the area where public drinking of alcohol is allowed.

The resolution establishing the downtown dining district will be voted on Tuesday at the same time as the second reading of changes in the alcohol ordinance.

Another reform to the alcohol ordinance will allow breweries to sell directly to customers beginning Sept. 1. Lackey said the changes are in line with reforms made at the state level.

Until now, breweries could only conduct tours and offer samples of their products.

The reforms to the alcohol ordinance will allow breweries to sell beer by the pint, six-pack and case.

If council approves them on second reading as expected, the new alcohol regulations would take effect immediately.