Roughly 3 1/2 weeks after its implementation, the Athens Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, ended for the year Sunday.
The DORA, which went into effect July 29 following months of support from the Athens Uptown Business Association, or AUBA, and Athens City Council, allows patrons within a specified area to openly carry alcoholic beverages outside and into participating establishments. The creation of the DORA was approved by Council on June 21 and by the Ohio Department of Commerce on July 8.
This year, the Athens DORA contained most of Court Street, as well as parts of Washington Street, State Street and Mill Street, among others, according to the ordinance approved by Council. It operated Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Jessica Thomas, chair of AUBA and owner of Brenen’s Coffee Café, said the specific dates the DORA is active will change from year to year, but the timeframe will roughly be from the first Thursday after Ohio University graduation to the last Sunday before Greek Life move-in.
This is to ensure the DORA is operational while most students are not on campus, a strategy that relieved the concerns of people involved with the DORA, Thomas said.
According to an email from Thomas, the list of businesses that participated in the DORA include:
- Courtside Pizza
- North End Kitchen and Bar
- The J Bar
- The CI
- Lucky’s Sports Tavern
- Red Brick Tavern
- Cat’s Eye
- Fluff Bakery
- Jackie O’s Public House
- The Union
- Cat’s Corner
- Smiling Skull
- Brenen’s Coffee Café
- Goodfellas Pizza
- Court Street Coffee
- Bagel Street Deli
- Ohio is Home
- College Bookstore
- Little Professor Bookstore
- Uptown Dog
- Random House
- Precision Imprint
Businesses indicated their level of participation in the DORA — Sold Here, Welcome Here and Not Permitted — with colored stickers placed on the outside of their buildings. That way, participation is completely up to the businesses, Thomas said.
David Cornwell, owner of The North End, Courtside Pizza and The J Bar, said he had little to report in terms of tangible effects to his businesses but looks forward to the DORA in years to come.
“People were definitely supporting it, but anticipate it being more popular next summer,” Cornwell said in a message. “Sometimes it takes some time for something like this to gain momentum.”
Richard Linscott, manager at The Union Bar, also said he’d have a better idea of the benefits of the DORA when it runs for a full summer in 2022, calling the 2021 iteration a “dry run.”
While the direct benefits of the DORA may be less immediate for businesses that don’t sell alcohol, Thomas said having more people in the Uptown area can translate to increased revenue opportunities for these businesses. To her, most of the widespread benefits will come from long-term implementation of the DORA.