Beer Man

Could go-cups be in Denver's future? Drinkers would rejoice

Almost everyone who's ever bar-hopped has, at one time or another, accidentally walked out of an establishment with their drink in hand. And on almost every one of those occasions, said drinker has been stopped by a bouncer, waiter, security guard or friend since, sadly, you can't take your booze to go in this town. But that might change.

A group of LoDo and Larimer Square bars and restaurants met with city officials from Denver and Greeley and the Downtown Denver Partnership yesterday to discuss the possibility of establishing one or more "common consumption" districts downtown.

In other words, you could buy a beer, wine or a cocktail at one establishment and then take it with you down the street, outside or to another venue. Hello go-cups.

"If we were able to create common consumption districts in multiple areas, I think we'd see a lot of interest in this," says Partnership spokeswoman Jenny Starkey, who is leading the discussion. "It would be a great way to activate downtown Denver."

Earlier this year, Greeley became the first city in Colorado to create a common consumption district in its 9th Street Plaza area under a new state law that allows for their creation in entertainment districts.

The city hasn't experienced any problems with the district, so Alison Hamling with Greeley's Downtown Development Authority, came to Denver to share her experiences and discuss the pros and cons with several businesses and neighborhood groups.

Some of the rules established by the new law would require bars or restaurants to print their names on the cups, to make all the cups disposable and not more than sixteen ounces. A common consumption area would need to have more than one business attached to it, and would require a board of directors charged with creating a detailed boundary map of the area, hours of operation and security arrangements.

Starkey said the discussion is still in its initial stages and that it would need full buy-in from the city, which would approve or reject any common consumption area proposal.

So, for now, drain that beer before you head out the door.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes