Mr. Joseph E. Lucente
Extension Educator, Community Development, Ohio Sea Grant College Program
“DORA” stands for “Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area.” Effective since 2015, Ohio law legalized the creation of DORAs in qualifying municipalities and townships (Ohio Revised Code 4301.82 2022). “The DORA essentially draws a mapped-out district, typically within a downtown or mixed-use area, in which patrons 21 and over purchase alcoholic beverages from approved restaurants and carry their drinks outside and within the DORA boundaries” (Wiles 2021). Any person of legal age in a DORA carrying an open container of beer, wine, or liquor is generally exempt from prosecution under the “Open Container Law” (Ohio Revised Code 4301.62 2016) if the drink was purchased from a participating DORA vendor.Young man wearing a coat leans on a railing holding a mug of beer with a skyline of the city behind him.
Figure 1. A Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) allow patrons 21 and over to purchase alcoholic beverages from approved restaurants and carry them outside within the DORA boundaries.
This fact sheet is intended as a guide for local decision makers, community planners, economic development professionals, consumers, and businesses to help them better understand how to implement a DORA in their community. It provides background information about relevant laws and actions to help inform community decisions on whether a DORA can be created and its potential impact on communities.