Main Street Ann Arbor Social District to open on Thursday

Winter cocktails. (Pexels)

ANN ARBOR – The streets of downtown Ann Arbor are about to get more festive this holiday season.

The Main Street Area Association announced its social district will open for business on Thursday.

What is a social district?

It’s a designated area within a city in which patrons of participating breweries, pubs and restaurants may carry an open alcoholic beverage. In this case, beverages will be in marked containers.

The hours of operation for the new social district will be 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

According to a MSAA release, the rules are as follows:

  • Drink from designated Social District containers provided by participating businesses only.
  • Stay within the designated Social District boundaries (highlighted in blue in the map below).
  • Do not carry drinks into other businesses. They must remain outdoors.
Map of Main Street Area Association's new social district in downtown Ann Arbor. (Main Street Area Association)

At the time of the launch, participating businesses will include Blue Tractor Brewery, The Grotto and Grizzly Peak Brewing Company. More businesses will be added in the near future.

The social district’s opening coincides with Ann Arbor’s biggest shopping night of the year on Friday, which includes Midnight Madness, Moonlight Madness and Kerrytown’s Festive Friday.

MSAA presented a resolution to City Council on Aug. 16 to establish a social district downtown.

The resolution was presented after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 5781 into law on July 1, 2020, granting local governments the ability to authorize these areas within their jurisdictions with a Social District Permit.

“The law is designed to provide relief to Michigan’s food service industry, which like so many sectors of the economy has been devastated by the pandemic and continues to face challenges with managing safety, financial stability, and staff shortages,” reads MSAA’s resolution.