Makes Me Happy

A Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, is a specified area of land that a local legislative authority (city council or township trustees) has designated as exempt from certain open container provisions as laid out in Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.82.

Within the boundaries of the DORA, patrons can purchase an open beverage containing alcohol from an on-premises liquor permit holder, such as a bar or a restaurant, and leave the premises with the drink and continue consuming it. 

While the law places certain restrictions on DORAs, the decision of whether to create a DORA, including its size, how many should be created, its hours of operation, what cups are used, or any health, safety, and sanitation plans when the DORA is in effect are all locally-controlled decisions.  

When is DORA?

In 2023, City Council and the Ohio Dept. of Commerce approved Amherst's application to test having a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in part of our historic district.  In 2024 City Council approved DORA as a long-term program.

DORA modifies the state's open container laws to help local businesses and visitors experience by permitting limited outdoor consumption during specific times within a designated area.  

DORAs test will be during selected special events within part of the Historic Downtown Amherst.



DORA Guidelines

  • No exploring outside the DORA boundaries with your beverage.
  • Please note that you may not sip and scoot. Open containers are not permitted on motorized scooters.
  • Dispose of cups before entering the subsequent liquor establishment.
  • No BYOB. All beverages must be purchased at a participating establishment.
  • Patrons must be 21 or older to participate.
  • The "O" in DORA is outdoor.  First, sip to last sip from a DORA beverage must be outside of a liquor establishment. 
  • DORA beverages may be taken into participating retail establishments (non-liquor permit holders) with an entrance contiguous with the walking area in the designated area. 
  • Businesses should display their participation level in the DORA using a sign near their entrance.  If in doubt, kindly ask the business. 
  • Cups are single use, should be disposed of when empty and may not be taken into a permitted liquor establishment.

Look for the Signs

Each Downtown Amherst business will display one of the following window clings at the establishment’s entrance.

Look for these signs to know how a business participates in the Historic Downtown Amherst DORA.

As you leave the DORA boundaries, you will encounter “No alcohol beyond this point” signs. You will then need to responsibly dispose of your drink before proceeding.