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Downtown Social District

Hickory Downtown Social District logo
10AM - 10PM, DAILY

A Social District is an exception to NC's open container law.

The City of Hickory has designated the Hickory Downtown Social District to allow citizens to enjoy alcoholic beverages in its newly revitalized downtown area. 



What is a Social District?

On September 8, 2021, Session Law 2021-150 was ratified, allowing local governments to establish “Social Districts" within their jurisdictions. These Social Districts allow for common areas where licensed establishments (e.g., bars, breweries, restaurants) may sell alcoholic beverages in designated containers to be taken into the common area for consumption.


Alcoholic beverages may be consumed in the Social District from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

No outside alcohol is permitted within the district. All alcoholic beverages must be purchased from establishments located within or contiguous to the district (in specially labeled cups) and must be consumed within the District.

Upon leaving an establishment where an alcoholic beverage is purchased, the beverage must be consumed or discarded before entering a different business that serves alcohol.

No alcoholic beverages may be brought into or consumed within Lowes Foods City Park.

All alcohol in open containers must be disposed of before exiting the District or entering a vehicle.

Map of the Social District

Information for ABC Permit Holders

ABC permitted establishments must ensure they meet all legal requirements for carding and limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages. The establishment can only serve two beers/wine drinks, or one liquor drink, to one patron at a time.

Alcoholic beverages that are sold for consumption in the District may only be sold in a container that meets all the following requirements:

  • The container clearly identifies the ABC permittee from which the alcoholic beverage was purchased.
  • The container clearly displays the Hickory Downtown Social District logo.
  • The container is not made of glass.
  • The container displays, in no less than 12-point font, the statement, "Drink Responsibly – Be 21."
  • The container cannot hold more than 16 fluid ounces.

Businesses located within or contiguous to the District that do not serve alcohol may permit people to enter with an alcoholic beverage in an approved container. Businesses not wishing to participate in the District should install signage indicating “Alcoholic Beverages Prohibited.”

  • The City will provide window clings with the Social District logo and “Beverages Welcome” to businesses upon request. 
  • Businesses not wishing to participate in the District should install signage indicating “Alcoholic Beverages Prohibited.” The City will also provide window clings to these businesses on request.

Example of Container Labeling for ABC Permit Holders

Containers must be non-glass and no more than 16 ounces. The required information may be printed directly on the container or on a sticker that is securely affixed to the container. The logo may be printed in one color to reduce printing costs. The text must be at least 12-point font.

Examples of Window Cling Signs

Businesses located within or adjacent to the Social District may contact the City of Hickory Office of Business Development for their window clings at (828) 323-7414. Downtown patrons should look for one of these three signs at businesses within the District.

Enforcement and Reporting

City of Hickory Police Officers will enforce the requirements of the Hickory Downtown Social District.

To report potential violations, please call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division (1-877-ALE-AGENT).

Click the button below to view the Hickory Downtown Social District Management Plan.

Social District Management Plan