Roanoke City Council confirms open alcohol consumption allowed in city

People are allowed to drink beer and wine as well as mixed drinks in public areas after they leave a restaurant. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
People are allowed to drink beer and wine as well as mixed drinks in public areas after they leave a restaurant. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

People are allowed to drink beer and wine as well as mixed drinks in public areas after they leave a restaurant. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Roanoke diners can openly consume alcoholic beverages purchased from restaurants in the city, according to a presentation by city manager Scott Campbell.

Roanoke City Council discussed open container laws and regulations from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at a May 10 meeting.

Campbell said city staff began to look into which alcohol permits in the city would allow for open container alcohol sales after COVID-19 exceptions changed some regulations.

On March 18, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver that allowed restaurants to deliver or offer to-go alcoholic beverages as long as they were sold with a food item and within a closed container, according to the Office of the Texas Governor website.

Currently, any business with a beer and wine sales permit can sell those beverages in open containers, allowing residents to drink them freely upon leaving an establishment, according to city documents. The waiver allows businesses with permits for mixed drinks to sell those beverages in closed containers, but Campbell said the city would not prevent citizens from then opening the beverage and consuming it in public.


Open container regulations for businesses with any kind of alcohol permit restrict anyone from entering the premises with an outside beverage, according to city documents. Current ordinances also prohibit the consumption of alcohol on city property, such as public parks, Campbell said.

Because this stipulation was confirmed with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the council did not need to take any action to change laws in order to allow for open containers and open consumption of alcohol.

Campbell said that the council could later stipulate that off-site consumption could be limited to a certain area, like Oak Street, should alcohol-related incidents increase or become a concern.

City staff's research found that "the cities of Celina, Granbury and Fredericksburg have Main Street style corridors established where patrons are allowed to purchase beer and wine for off-premise consumption," and that "none of the departments reported an increase in alcohol-related offenses due to this practice."

John Heilman, an owner of Los Compadres Cantina on Oak Street, said he and his business partners support open container and consumption from their restaurant. He said he has spoken to other restaurants and retail shops in the area that are in support as well.

“[Retail shop owners] definitely support it because they feel like it will keep people going up and down the streets and hanging out,” Heilman said. “I can see myself and my wife – me going shopping with her – if I could have a beer in hand, it would be a lot easier.”

More information about city alcohol permits can be found here.
By Samantha Van Dyke
Samantha Van Dyke is Community Impact's DFW Metro Reporter. She previously served as managing editor of The Arkansas Traveler.