DORA districts — or Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas — are a fun fact of life in Greater Cincinnati. In these specific spaces, you are able to grab an alcoholic beverage to sip while you stroll.
While the new 85-acre DORA at The Banks is a major player, Loveland, Bellevue and Milford (among others) also have their very own designated areas where visitors can have an open beer or cocktail, as long as they follow some simple rules:
- Alcoholic beverages must be in specific DORA cups.
- DORA beverages must stay within the boundaries of the district.
- Guests may take their DORA beverages from participating businesses but are not permitted to bring their drink into another business.
- Visitors are subject to open-container laws when outside of the district.
- You must be 21 and up to drink.
Here’s your guide to exploring local DORA districts.
The DORA at The Banks opened in March and spans from Paul Brown Stadium to Heritage Bank Center and to the south sidewalk of Second Street and north sidewalk of Mehring Way. (Smale Park is not included in The Banks' DORA district.) The city has also permanently closed Freedom Way from Joe Nuxhall Way to Walnut Street to make it a pedestrian pathway. The DORA is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week, during which visitors may purchase their adult beverages in DORA cups from participating businesses and traverse the district.
Cheviot opened their DORA on March 16. The district covers three blocks of Harrison Avenue. Hours are 4 p.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday and noon-midnight Friday through Sunday.
Deerfield's DORA district encompasses Deerfield Towne Centre. The district is open 6 p.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday and noon-midnight Friday through Sunday. Deerfield Township's government says: "Once a DORA cup has left the business it was purchased at, it must be consumed before you re-enter that business or any other business that sells alcoholic beverages. However, you can enjoy your beverage in the public gathering spaces within the designated boundaries."
Hamilton has one of the first DORAs in the Greater Cincinnati area, which launched in 2018. The Hamilton DORA is open noon-midnight daily, with Richard’s Pizza, Municipal Brew Works and Neal’s BBQ serving up DORA beverages. Currently, Hamilton is hosting a "Hamilton Craft and Cocktail Quest," which Jacob Stone-Welch, Department of Neighborhoods, says "features specials from many of our DORA participants as well as a medal, doubling as a bottle opener, for visiting 10 or more locations."
Loveland’s DORA was established almost two years ago on April 2019. The boundaries run along Karl Brown Way into Nisbet Park and around to West Loveland Avenue. Some local businesses that sell DORA drinks are Bishop’s Quarter, Casual Pint and Narrow Path Brewing. Loveland’s DORA is open noon-11 p.m. daily.
Mason’s DORA opened in 2019 in downtown Mason. The district runs from Dawn Street to Fourth Avenue, and the city has signs signaling boundaries. The Common Beer Company, Two Cities Pizza and Quantman Cafe are some of the businesses taking part in the Mason DORA district. The area is open 6 p.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday and noon-midnight Friday through Sunday.
Middletown has its very own DORA, running from the riverfront to Clark Street in downtown Middletown. The DORA hours are noon-midnight daily. Middletown requires the purchase of a $1 DORA bracelet, which is good for the entire day. Participating locations include the Canal Pub at the Landing, Gracie’s and The White Dog Distilling Company.
Milford joins the list with their own DORA. The district was approved on July 16, 2019 and boundaries cover Main Street, parts of Water Street and some of Lila Avenue. The entirety of Riverside Park is included in the DORA district. The Governor, 20 Brix and Little Miami Brewing Company are all participating businesses. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday through Sunday.
Montgomery’s DORA district runs from the edge of State Route 126 to Go Bananas Comedy Club on Montgomery Road. The DORA hours for Montgomery are 5-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Participating businesses have maps showing the limits of DORA. And locations may charge $1 for the DORA cup.
Wyoming has its own DORA which is open 2-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-midnight Friday and noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Wyoming Community Coffee, Tela Bar + Kitchen and Station Family + BBQ are some of the businesses licensed to sell DORA drinks. Maps and boundaries are available at any participating location.
Bellevue, Kentucky has something a bit different (the term is different because it's a different state), but the concept is the same. The Bellevue Entertainment District (BED) allows those over 21 to roam with open containers as they shop. The BED opened in November 2019 between O’Fallon Avenue and Riviera Drive on Fairfield Avenue. Hours of operation are noon-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. BED patrons must purchase a reusable cup for 50 cents from a participating business.