Social district with outdoor drinking open in downtown Royal Oak

Outdoor common area allows alcoholic beverages in city’s downtown


ROYAL OAK, Mich. – A new social district that connects dozens of businesses and allows outdoor drinking in the heart of Royal Oak is officially open.

The Metro Detroit city approved plans for a downtown social district in April with hopes of attracting more patrons to struggling restaurants, bars and shops, while allowing people to drink outside and remain socially distanced amid the pandemic. Last year in July, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a law allowing cities, townships and villages to establish “social districts” with common areas for companies to sell alcoholic drinks.

Royal Oak’s social district, which opened July 16, is open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The district stretches between East Lincoln Avenue and Pingree Boulevard, and goes as far west as South Lafayette Avenue and as far east as Knowles Street.

See a map of the district below, courtesy of the city of Royal Oak.

Businesses participating in the social district are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, which will be provided in a special cup, that can be consumed within the district’s boundaries. The city says all boundaries are clearly marked.

Special social district cups are meant for a one-time use only and cannot be reused from establishment to establishment.

The following Royal Oak businesses are currently participating in the social district, according to the city:

  • Gusoline Alley
  • Lily’s Seafood
  • Motor City Gas Whiskey Distillery
  • Oak City Grille
  • Pizzeria Biga
  • Smoky’s Cigar Bar
  • The Rock on 3rd
  • The Side Bar

Visitors are not allowed to bring their own alcohol to consume in the area. Officials say only drinks that were purchased within the social district can be consumed there.

Visit the city of Royal Oak’s website here for more information.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.