East 4th Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area Earns Council Approval

It will be Cleveland's first DORA, but others are likely to soon follow

click to enlarge East 4th would be the city's first DORA - Mark Oprea
Mark Oprea
East 4th would be the city's first DORA
Clevelanders will soon be able to carry alcoholic beverages outdoors on East 4th Street in the city’s first designated outdoor refreshment area, or DORA, after Cleveland City Council approved the proposal in Monday’s meeting.

DORAs, which have already popped up around cities including Akron and Shaker Heights, essentially void Ohio’s open container law within their limits. Customers ages 21 and older will be able to purchase drinks in designated plastic DORA cups from restaurants and bars and move freely throughout the district.

The East 4th Street area will also see cosmetic renovations. Establishments will replace barriers between patios with landscaping and greenery to create open scenery. The existing valet area will also be moved to make way for a canopied “pocket park” featuring stylish seating and public art. New valet drop-off and pick-up locations will be on Prospect Avenue and Euclid Avenue.

Ari Maron told Scene that Clevelanders shouldn't expect to see the DORA up and running until spring 2024.

And it most likely will just be the first in a trend. With a population well over the required threshold of 50,000, Cleveland can have up to six DORAs, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce.  And the East Bank of the Flats is teeing up its own proposal.

“Throughout Ohio DORAs have proven to be economic drivers and destination definers in large cities and smaller towns, and yet Ohio’s most vital city has yet to share in these success stories," the East 4th Street backers said in their proposal. "It is our hope (even our expectation) that once tested, refined and understood within the scope of East 4th, we together with other property owners downtown, will be well positioned to expand and extend the DORA to reach from Public Square to Playhouse Square."

Now passed by Cleveland City Council, the DORA proposal will be submitted to the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control for approval.

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