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Arena District DORA approved, Crew fans will be able to drink on the way to Lower.com Field

Fans of Columbus’ Arena District sports teams will have a new pregame experience.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Just one month after the Columbus Crew opened Lower.com Field and a few months before the start of the Columbus Blue Jackets 2021-2022 season, the Columbus City Council has approved a DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) for the Arena District. This will be the first DORA in the Columbus city limits, allowing fans to take part in open container privileges before and after games.

Ohio, like most states, forbids the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces (including public parks). DORAs create an exception to this prohibition and allow the public to drink alcoholic beverages within specified public areas.

The newly approved area will run the length of Nationwide Boulevard bordered by High Street on the east and the Olentangy River on the west. This area will be the first DORA in the Columbus city limits. The Arena District’s DORA will be in effect three hours before every Crew, Blue Jackets or Columbus Clippers home game and will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on that same day.

During the time the DORA is in effect, people 21 years old and over will be able allowed to buy an alcoholic beverage from any location that holds a DORA permit and leave the premises with that beverage so long as the beverage is kept in a DORA marked cup and is consumed within the limits of the DORA. This means that on Crew game days, fans will be able to grab a drink from R Bar, for example, in a DORA cup and carry that drink all the way to Betty’s Bar for one last stop before heading into Lower.com Field or if they choose to join the March to the Match along its route.

While the Arena District DORA will help replicate the atmosphere of tailgates in the historic Crew Stadium parking lot, it’s still illegal to bring and drink a 12 pack of your favorite beer from home.

The recently approved DORA is slightly smaller than the area originally presented to the Columbus City Council.

In the image above, you can see that the most significant change is the removal of the area around McFerson Park and up Neil Avenue. This small area is the most residential portion of the DORA proposal so it’s unsurprising that the Columbus City Council would amend the area.

In a regular year, the Crew will host a minimum of 17 home matches, the Blue Jackets will host a minimum of 42 home games and the Clippers will host a minimum 71 home contests. There will occasionally be an overlap of these game days but it is likely that the Arena District DORA is in effect for at least 100 days per year and at least one day during most weekends.

Per the Columbus Dispatch, the Columbus City Council plans for the Arena District DORA to begin before the end of September. Thanks to Black & Gold’s schedule that packed most home games toward the end of the season, there should be around six regular season (including the Campeones Cup) matches with the DORA in effect, meaning Crew fans will still get to enjoy the perfects of this ruling before the year comes to a close.