You can now walk around with alcohol throughout Royal Oak's designated Social District

click to enlarge Royal Oak is the latest city to launch a "Social District" for outdoor drinking. -
Royal Oak is the latest city to launch a "Social District" for outdoor drinking.
Drinking in the streets is becoming the norm for many metro Detroit downtowns... and we're not mad about it.

Royal Oak is the latest city to launch a "Social District," allowing visitors to purchase — and consume — alcoholic drinks from participating bars and restaurants, and mosey around to other participating establishments to, well, drink more, if they so choose.

Social Districts are a result of a legislative decision made last year that allows Michigan liquor licensees to expand their alcohol offerings to-go and expand outdoor seating options, as a way to generate revenue amid the past year and a half of shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there are more than 40 social districts throughout Michigan, including Royal Oaks' neighbor, Ferndale, which launched its "Patio Zone" in May.

Royal Oak's Social District includes more than 35 restaurants, bars, and venues along Lincoln Avenue and 11 Mile Road, as well as areas surrounding Pingree Boulevard and northern Main Street. The Social District opened to the public on Friday.

"District boundaries will be clearly marked with signs, indicating if people are leaving or entering," a press release reads. "Participating businesses will have a sign indicating they are part of the social district."

But don't think the Social District means it's the wild west — there are rules.

Drinks from participating spots will come in a special Social District cup that you cannot bring inside other venues. In other words, you can enjoy your drink within the Social District limits outside and must dispose of your one-time use cup before visiting another bar or restaurant. You can't drink in parking lots or garages, and this isn't a BYOB situation, either, as only alcohol purchased from participating restaurants is allowed to be consumed within the designated Social District.

Royal Oak's Social District is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week, all year long. For a list of rules, participating establishments, and district map, visit

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