8th Street Market / Courtesy photo
Bentonville and Rogers have joined Fayetteville and Springdale in establishing drinking areas for consuming alcohol outdoors.
The 8th Street Market Outdoor Dining District last month was approved by the Bentonville City Council, and a similar ordinance was passed in April for a portion of the downtown area in Rogers called the Railyard Entertainment District.
The new districts follow programs established last year in Fayetteville and Springdale on the heels of Act 812, a new state law that allows municipalities to create designated entertainment districts inside commercial areas that contain places like restaurants, bars, music venues, art galleries, and other entertainment or hospitality establishments. Those districts are exempt from state laws that prohibit public alcohol consumption.
Fayetteville’s Outdoor Refreshment Area initially included a sunset clause in case changes were needed, but City Council members earlier this month approved an ordinance that removed the January 2022 expiration date.
Springdale’s Outdoor Dining District, which was also recently made permanent, includes a portion of Emma Avenue and several surrounding blocks between Grove and Johnson avenues.
The Rogers district runs from Cherry Street north to Chestnut Street and from 3rd Street roughly to Arkansas Street to the west.
The Bentonville program kicks off Friday, Oct. 1. It allows guests to carry and consume certain alcoholic beverages every day between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. within the district’s boundaries. A celebration begins at 11 a.m. Friday with vendors, giveaways and signature cocktails at participating businesses.
Just like in other cities, specially branded cups and wristbands will be distributed to anyone leaving the businesses with alcohol. The boundaries include the entire 8th Street Market and portions of the parking lot.