News about downtown dining and socializing:

Though it is only temporary, an entertainment district has been created in SoMa, on Main Street from 12th to 17th streets. That means you can enjoy alcoholic libations (if you are of legal drinking age) from The Root Cafe, Mockingbird Bar and Tacos, Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom, South on Main and Esters al fresco, at the SoMa Outdoor Dining Room (the tent set up at 17th and Main).

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Also approved by the city: The River Market Entertainment District, which runs from Cumberland to Interstate 30 on President Clinton Avenue, has expanded, stretching to Second Street between Rock Street and River Market Avenue. It’s increased hours, too: It’s now open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight.

The River Market Entertainment District was created in 2019; SoMa’s district was proposed recently by Main Street businesses after the novel coronavirus pandemic made dining indoors problematic.

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You’ll get a wristband signifying you’re of age when you buy a drink, which must be in an official entertainment district cup. Drinks must be purchased from restaurants in the district; no BYOB.

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The virus has meant the cancellation of the annual Food Truck Festival, which brings thousands of people within droplet distance to one another to Main Street. However, there will be an outdoor event for 2nd Friday Art Night tomorrow night, July 10: The Old State House Museum will host the 5 Star Brass Quintet, the Arkansas First Ceremonial Band and a jazz combo from the U.S. Army 106th band for performances on the lawn from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Brink blankets, chairs, stay socially distanced and wear a face mask.

2nd Friday will also feature virtual events: The Historic Arkansas Museum will demonstrate the art of the watermelon fizz mocktail, feature a talk by photographer Tim Hursley about his Muskogee House series, and offer live music by Fire and Brimstone starting at 6:30 p.m.

The Central Arkansas Library System will feature a virtual show of its Mid-Southern Watercolorists Founders Wall, Encyclopedia of Arkansas Trivia and Sounds in the Stacks.

UA Little Rock Downtown will feature “Landcapes,” a virtual showcase of works from the university’s permanent collection.

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