WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A bill passed in the House and referred to a committee by the Senate would allow you to walk about in places like Old Town or other established “entertainment districts” with your drink in hand.
House bill 2277 is defined as: ‘AN ACT concerning alcoholic liquor; creating common consumption areas designated by cities and counties; authorizing common consumption area permits’. An example of a common consumption area would be Kansas City’s Power and Light District.
Temporary entertainment district permits are available to venues like Barleycorn’s, who used one for an outdoor music festival when they shut down Douglas from Mead to St. Francis streets.
“We had security, we spent money on security, spent money on extra personnel to help control the crowd and the event that was going on outside. So there was a large amount of personal investment on our side to make that happen,” Alex Thomas, co-owner of Barleycorn’s said.
Thomas sees potential in the bill, but thinks further logistics would need to be evaluated. For their outdoor music festival, they were the only bar on the block with a liquor license and thus solely responsible for the activities and profit-making going on outside.
“Any time you add multiple businesses into a scenario like that, you know, coordinating with those businesses, whose responsibility is it to control what’s happening outside the premise becomes a potential issue,” Thomas said.
The bill as it stands is vague in terms of how the established entertainment district would mark the border in which people could freely take their drinks within the common consumption area. Barleycorn’s used fencing, cones and physical barriers with their temporary entertainment district license.
“Our boundaries now are the front door to the back door, as it stands,” Thomas said.
A letter of support by Wichita mayor Jeff Longwell says “The City of Wichita continues to explore strategies to make downtown Wichita the most vibrant and appealing destination possible. To this end, we ask your support for Kansas House Bill 2277 that allows for the creation of common consumption areas for alcoholic liquor.”
More information regarding the bill can be found here.