Officials in Little Rock are looking to create a new entertainment district that will allow individuals to enjoy downtown while having a drink.
The city’s board of directors will be meeting today to review two ordinances creating entertainment districts within in Little Rock, and the specific creation of a River Market Entertainment District.
According to the city ordinance, Little Rock’s River Market Entertainment District is expected to encompass “all public places lying within (1) Block 1 of Pope’s Addition in the City of Little Rock and (2) 30 feet of each side of the centerline of the following blocks of the following streets in the City of Little Rock: 300-600 blocks of President Clinton Avenue, 100 block of North Rock Street and 100 block of St. Vincent Plaza, also known as the 100 block of North Commerce Street.”
Alcoholic consumption will be limited to specific days and hours. Individuals will be allowed to have open alcoholic beverages on Fridays from 5 p.m. to midnight, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to midnight and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, open alcoholic beverage containers will be allowed on December 31 from 8 a.m. to January 1 at 2 a.m., on January 1 from 8 a.m. to midnight, on February 14 from 8 a.m. to midnight, on March 17 from 8 a.m. to midnight, on July 4 from 8 a.m. to midnight and on December 24 from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Earlier in the year, the state legislature passed Act 812 of 2019, which allows cities/towns to “establish temporary or permanent designated entertainment districts.” According to the language of the bill, the act was designed to promote tourism within Arkansas and spotlight the hospitality and entertainment options in Arkansas.
Under the state act, an entertainment district must be located in a “contiguous area” that is primarily a commercial zone and features restaurants, bars and other entertainment attractions. The Little Rock ordinance limits entertainment districts to areas that contain 10 or more properties that have permits for on-premises alcohol consumption by the Alcohol Beverage Control Division and one or more properties with a “combined minimum of 100 hotel rooms.”
Temporary entertainment districts, which will last no longer than five consecutive days, will also be permitted.
Several Arkansas cities have passed ordinances creating entertainment districts. These include El Dorado and Mountain Home.