Mayor Cranley Announces Plans to Turn The Banks into a DORA District

By this spring, The Banks should be a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (aka you can walk around with an open container) and feature a new pedestrian walkway, closed to cars

Dec 15, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Today, Mayor John Cranley announced several plans to support the bars and restaurants at The Banks downtown — the first of which is creating a special DORA district.

A DORA, or Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, means you can walk around a specific space with a drink in hand. The DORA the city is planning for The Banks would allow patrons over 21 years of age to carry around an open 16-ounce (or less) alcoholic beverage — in a special DORA/branded cup — within boundaries stretching from the Heritage Bank Center to Paul Brown Stadium and Mehring Way to Second Street.

click to enlarge A map of the proposed DORA district at The Banks - Photo: The Banks
Photo: The Banks
A map of the proposed DORA district at The Banks

Other Greater Cincinnati neighborhoods, including downtown Milford, Loveland and Bellevue, currently have their own DORA districts (and branded cups).

The second improvement plan is to establish a pedestrian walkway on East Freedom Way, permanently closing the stretch between Joe Nuxhall Way and Walnut Street to cars. This will not only create a walkable park-like space, but also provide more options for outdoor seating to bars and restaurants.

“With the creation of a DORA and pedestrian walkway at The Banks, we open the opportunity for more outdoor dining and entertainment options as well as more vibrancy and revenue at The Banks,” said Cranley during today's press conference. “This next phase of energy and experiences at The Banks will provide a boost to our restaurants and bars when they need it most.”

click to enlarge Rendering of the new pedestrian walkway - Photo: The Banks
Photo: The Banks
Rendering of the new pedestrian walkway

Both the DORA district and the new pedestrian walkway are slated to be complete by Reds Opening Day, currently scheduled for April 1, 2021.

“The Mayor’s announcement is much needed good news as we close this year of innovation and perseverance — for all at The Banks,” said Jim Moehring, co-owner of The Holy Grail Tavern & Grille. “These initiatives provide new avenues for growth as we solve against current challenges, and tremendous opportunity as all of us move forward.”