Enjoy a drink in Downtown Alpena’s new Social District

As of Friday, July 23, 2021, the Downtown Alpena Social District is officially open!

Within the district, patrons twenty-one and older are able to purchase an alcoholic beverage from a participating restaurant or bar and carry and consume it outdoors on sidewalks and in public parks such as Culligan Plaza, Avery Park, and Bay View Park. The Social District is open seven days a week from 11 am- midnight. 

Currently, you can purchase an alcoholic beverage to take into the Social District at the following establishments who have received Social District permits through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. List has been updated as of March 13, 2023

A designated Social District cup. Photo by Kingsli Kraft.

To enjoy the Social District:

  • Drinks must be purchased at a participating business that has a Social District Permit issued through the Liquor Control Commission (see list above).
  • Drinks must be served in a designated Social District cup. When ordering an adult beverage to take into the district, please specify that you are taking your drink to enjoy in the district!
  • Please help keep Downtown Alpena clean by recycling your cup in a designated bin or taking it home with you to reuse. Bins are located in Culligan Plaza, the Chisholm St. Pocket Park, and at the boundaries.
  • ​All State of Michigan and City of Alpena laws apply, including those prohibiting public intoxication, impaired driving, and serving alcohol to minors.

Once you get your drink, you can enjoy it:
– On sidewalks downtown
– In public parks downtown, such as Culligan Plaza, the Dog Park, and Avery Park
– In the licensed area of the business where you purchased it

You cannot take your drink:
– Into an indoor or outdoor dining area of a restaurant or bar where you didn’t purchase it
– Into a food business that doesn’t have a liquor license (Cabin Creek, Bob’s Bullpen, Downtown Scoops, etc.)
– Outside of the designated Downtown Alpena Social District Boundary

Some shops downtown may allow you to bring food or beverages inside their store, so please check in with each business and respect their rules!

The Downtown Alpena Social District Boundary.

In July 2020, the The State of Michigan enacted the law to allow Social Districts to support hospitality businesses, spur economic activity, and allow cities to expand outdoor dining and drinking areas.  

Earlier this summer, Alpena City Council created the Downtown Alpena Social District, whose boundaries incorporate most of the DDA Downtown Alpena district. Over the last few months, the City of Alpena and DDA have been working to install signage at boundaries, placing recycling bins, and working with the Recycling Commission to make the district as eco-friendly as possible. Businesses that have an eligible liquor license contiguous to the district are able to apply to receive a Social District permit through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to be able to sell alcoholic beverages to take into the district.

We are excited to officially launch the first Social District in Northeast Michigan and create one more draw for people to enjoy our downtown as they walk around, enjoy the ambiance, listen to live music, or catch up with a friend.


DDA Board Members Matt Wojda and Jennifer Calery doing their civic duty and enjoying the district.

Those seeking more information on the Social District can reach out to DDA Executive Director Anne Gentry at anneg@alpena.mi.us or 989-356-6422. More information can be found on the DDA’s website by clicking here.

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