A news release touts the beginning of legal public drinking in the newly christened River Market Entertainment District on Aug. 23.
Here are the details of the change, allowed by a new state law and city board designation of the parameters of the district in which alcohol may be consumed on the streets, with certain restrictions. The idea is to emulate Beale Street, Bourbon Street and similar locales popular as nightlilfe destinations.
Since the City of Little Rock passed an ordinance to allow the River Market District to implement an Entertainment District in a portion of the neighborhood, there has been a flurry of activity to get ready for the launch on August 23. Participants have been busy designing signage and designating locations, sourcing branded cups and wristbands and developing information for guests to the area. The launch of the River Market Entertainment District (RMED) marks a new era in the River Market District, and partners are preparing to launch the initiative with all hands on deck, including a few extra activities the RMED’s first couple of weekends.
On Friday, August 23rd, big crowds are already expected in the Little Rock River Market District for the Chris Stapleton show at Verizon Arena that night, but on Saturday night, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership has hired local rock band DeFrance to entertain guests visiting the RMED. The following weekend, Friday August 30th, Clint Black performs at First Security Amphitheater and on Saturday, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership has hired local R&B band, Off the Cuff to perform. Both Saturday night bands will perform 7p-10p in the St. Vincent Plaza at the corner of River Market Avenue and President Clinton Avenue.
The River Market Entertainment District (RMED) is a space in which guests aged 21 and older can carry alcoholic beverages in approved cups throughout all public spaces and participating commercial properties. The Entertainment District spans the 300-600 blocks of President Clinton Avenue, the 100 block of Ottenheimer and St. Vincent Plaza and the entirety of Ottenheimer Market Hall and the River Market pavilions. RMED boundaries will be defined by branded light pole banners, and sidewalk decals.
Alcohol may be carried throughout the district during the following times and holidays:
Friday – 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday – 8 a.m. to midnight and Sunday – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day (December 31/January 1) – 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Valentine’s Day (February 14) – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Independence Day (July 4) – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Christmas Eve (December 24) – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Patrons looking to take alcohol outside of the point of purchase and into public spaces within the District will be required to wear a wristband given to them when they receive their RMED cup. In addition to wristbands, all drinks taken outside of a bar or restaurant must be in official RMED cups. Both cups and wristbands will be available at all participating bars and restaurants within the District.
The participating establishments offering cups, wristbands, and to-go drinks are: Buenos Aires Grill & Café, Club 27, Cache, Courtyard Marriott (bar), Damgoode Pies, Ernie Biggs, Gus’s, Flying Saucer, Stickyz, Rev Room, Sonny Williams Steak Room, Willy D’s and Nexus Coffee.
The participating locations where you can bring an RMED drink in but who are not permitted to sell alcohol include: The Galleries at Library Square, Bobby Roberts Library of Arkansas History, The Barn, UA Little Rock Downtown, Kilwins, Freckled Frog and Four Square.
Due to state regulations, alcoholic beverages may not be taken from one bar or restaurant into another. However, you may bring your empty RMED cup from one establishment to another. Additionally, visitors to the RMED cannot bring any outside alcohol into the District, nor can any alcohol purchased within the District be taken outside its borders.
River Market Ambassadors will be on hand in the district to welcome patrons and offer assistance as needed. In addition, the Little Rock Police Department will have a presence as well.