Downtown Lenoir Social District

The City of Lenoir City Council approved the City's Downtown Lenoir Social District Ordinance in October 2022. The Downtown Lenoir Social District became active in January 2023.

About Social Districts

In September 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Session Law 2021-150. This law allows local governments to establish “Social Districts" within their jurisdictions. Simply put, the law created an exception to NC's open container law.

Social districts are areas where people can walk with open, to-go containers of alcoholic beverages in a contiguous area. A social district may include both indoor and outdoor areas of businesses within the defined district during the days and hours established for the social district.

Downtown Lenoir Social District

The Downtown Lenoir Social District became effective in January 2023. The district is open at limited times during the week. Businesses and the public must abide by all rules when participating in the Social District.


The Social District is open on the following days and times.

Wednesday through Saturday12:00 to 10:00 pm


The map below shows the boundary of Downtown Lenoir's Social District. Boundary signs that say "The Pint of No Return" are placed at various locations along the Social District boundary. If you leave the boundary with an open container of alcohol, you will be breaking the state's open container law.

Social District boundary map Opens in new windowSocial District Boundary sign


The public can only bring alcoholic beverages into the Social District in cups/containers that display the Social District logo and the logo of the participating business. The cup can not hold more than 16 ounces, and must display the date and time the drink was served.

Social District logo
Social District logo
social district cup example
Social District cup example


  • No alcoholic beverages are to be taken inside public buildings, churches, or non-participating businesses within the parameters of the district.
  • Alcoholic beverages that are purchased from participating restaurants and bars within the Social District may be brought into the common areas of the Social District.
  • Alcohol consumed in the common areas of the Social District must be in the designated Social District cup that displays the Social District logo and the logo of the participating business.
  • The public may NOT their own alcohol into the Social District (no BYOB).
  • Alcohol purchased from non-participating businesses is NOT allowed in the common areas of the Social District.
  • Alcohol purchased from one participating business cannot be brought into another participating bar or restaurant. (You can't take a drink from one business that sells alcohol into another business that sells alcohol.)
  • The public can take Social District beverages into other retail shops that participate in the district. However, not every retailer permits Social District beverages within their business. Look for the green "Social District Beverages Welcome" decals to see where drinks are permitted.
  • Social District beverages must be disposed of when leaving the boundaries. (You can't take drinks outside the boundary. Once you leave the boundary, you will be violating the state's open container law.)

Participating Businesses

Businesses in Downtown Lenoir will have one of three stickers displayed on their door or window.

Sold Here decalBeverages Welcome decalPlease No Beverages decal
Businesses that sell alcohol, which the public can take into the Social District will display a blue "Sold Here" sticker.Retailers that allow Social District beverages in their store will display a green "Beverages Welcome" sticker.Retailers that do not want beverages brought into their store will display a red "Please No Beverages" sticker, or no sticker at all.

Want to participate?

Any business located within the Downtown Lenoir Social District that serves alcohol can participate in the Social District by meeting the following requirements:

  • Have a valid state ABC permit
  • Submit a "Social District ABE Permit Holder Form (PDF)" (See below)
  • Beverage containers must display the Lenoir Downtown Social District logo, as well as the business/establishment from which the alcoholic beverage was purchased.
  • Beverage container is not made of glass
  • Beverage container displays “Drink Responsibly - Be 21” in font no smaller than 12-point
  • Container cannot hold more than 16 ounces
  • Container must have a time & date stamp of when the beverage was purchased

Enforcement and Reporting

The City of Lenoir Police Department will enforce the requirements of the Downtown Lenoir Social District. To report potential violations, please call the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100 or the NC Alcohol Law Enforcement Division  District VII (ALE). Click the following link for information for ALE District VII, ALE District V11 Contact Information.