Winter Park approves first public common consumption area for alcohol at Cooper Creek
On any given Friday evening during the summer months, locals and tourists at Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park can enjoy live music in the shopping center’s courtyard area. This summer, however, guests will get to listen to the performances in a new way — with a drink in hand.
The Winter Park Town Council approved the creation of the town’s first entertainment district at Cooper Creek Square during its Tuesday meeting. The entertainment district allows guests to purchase alcohol from any restaurant within Cooper Creek and enjoy it outside the restaurant in the common consumption area.
“Basically, someone could buy a drink from (Casa Mexico) and they could, if there’s music going on on Friday night, they could walk into the courtyard that’s licensed and enjoy their cocktail,” said Winter Park Town Clerk Danielle Jardee.
The entertainment district includes all of Cooper Creek Square’s six restaurants — Paella’s, Sushi Nama, New Hong Kong, Casa Mexico, Durbar and Mountain Grind Coffee and Bistro — and shops, which can’t sell alcohol without a liquor license, but guests will be able to enter with their drinks unless otherwise noted.
“We’ve been asked many times to have this kind of convenience,” said Mark Hanna, a representative of the Cooper Creek Square Merchants Association, which applied for the entertainment district license.
The common consumption area includes the walkways and outdoor courtyard area with barriers demarcating the boundaries of the district. No outside alcohol will be allowed in the entertainment district and guests with alcohol also must remain within the common consumption area.
Cooper Creek’s entertainment district is subject to certain restrictions, with the main one being that the entertainment district rules only apply on certain days and times. Guests will only be allowed to drink in the common consumption from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the appointed days.
Aside from Music on Square, which happens every Friday starting June 21 and ending Aug. 30, Cooper Creek has planned four specific events to take advantage of the entertainment district, including an ice cream social on July 6, a Labor Day block party on Aug. 31, a Halloween bash on Oct. 26 and a wonderland of lights celebration on Nov. 29.
Hanna said more events could be added in the future, especially if new restaurants open in Cooper Creek and join the entertainment district.
“Some of our restaurants, we have a couple spaces we’re looking for new tenants and we envision them participating,” he said. “We think 10, eventually, will be participating in this, so we tried to include those areas.”
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