Toledo’s 2nd outdoor refreshment area opens

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TOLEDO, Oh (WTVG) – As of late, the goal has been to find ways to bring people downtown. Area businesses are taking steps to make that happen. Most recently it’s through the creation of a downtown outdoor refreshment area.

“I think it’s going to be a draw for people to come down here,” Anna Toney, who lives in Toledo, said.

“When I moved here, I heard about these great things that used to happen downtown, but none of that has happened since I’ve been here,” Brian Hahn, a Toledo resident said. “I think this is a step towards that.”

Here’s how it works: you can buy a drink at one bar and head outside. But remember those drinks can’t go from bar to bar and must be enjoyed outside. You also have to keep the beverages within the marked boundaries located at Erie, Adams, Summit and Lafayette.

A little more than a year ago, the city’s first outdoor refreshment area opened on Adams street. With this expansion, there are now 24 bars and restaurants taking part.

“We’ve learned a lot about how people are utilizing the ORA,” Zach Lahey said, reflecting on the last year on Adams street.

Lahey owns Manhattan’s Pub ‘N Cheer. He also worked on the original legislation. He says the program works and has proven to be a big boost for some of the area’s bigger events, like the zombie crawl.

“They way it worked with the ORA was exceptional. All of the bars saw record sales,” he said.

Now that the idea has expanded to include downtown, Lahey hopes this growth trend continues. He says this is proof that there is plenty to experience, right in our backyard.

“Toledo knows how to have a good time and this is one way we’re encouraging people to get out and enjoy our city,” Lahey said.

The special cups for outdoor consumption are allowed daily from noon until midnight.