Perry City Council is considering relaxing its open container laws in a proposed 'restaurant district' downtown.

If passed, the ordinance would let people walk from shops to restaurants with a drink in hand in the specified area of Perry’s historic downtown.

At The Swanson in Downtown Perry, general manager Brad Stanley says the restaurant enjoys trying new things to bring in new customers.

“The last food truck thing, we set up a bar outside and sold beer and wine outside in cups, and it went fine,” Stanley said.

Soon, The Swanson could have that opportunity all the time.

Assistant City Manager Robert Smith said the ‘restaurant district’ idea would put new customers on tap.

“Hopefully, put it higher on their radar when they're thinking 'Hey, what can we do tonight?' Let's go downtown! We'll grab a beer at this restaurant and then kind of walk around, see what the merchants are doing, do a little shopping perhaps, hang out in one of the parks downtown,” Smith said.

The ordinance would create a specified restaurant district from Main Street to Northside Drive and Macon road to just past Marion Street.

The drinks must be sold from licensed businesses in the district and kept in 16-ounce or smaller plastic cups.

But, Smith says they won't let it get out of control.

“[It’s] one beverage in a 16-ounce or less plastic cup, so you know we still have some limitations to it, it's not going to be a free for all,” Smith said.

Meaning, customers would only get sold one drink at a time before leaving a licensed establishment.

The ordinance says:

  • The drinks must be put into 16-ounce or smaller plastic cups from a licensed establishment
  • Open containers cannot be taken outside the boundaries of the district
  • Open containers from outside the district cannot be brought in
  • No cans, bottles, or glass containers
  • Sales limited from 11:00 a.m. - Midnight, seven days a week

For Stanley, even though business is good at the Swanson, it could help other types of businesses next door.

“A lot of our customers come here and they'll eat and they want to go look at the shops and everything down here, and a lot of them aren't open, so it'd be nice if that presented more people down here and the shops stayed open and gave them something to do while they're here in Perry,” Stanley said in his restaurant.

The ordinance will be up for a vote before mayor and council on Tuesday.