Grand Haven’s social district opens

Grand Haven is the latest Ottawa County to add a social district, creating an outdoor drinking space in its downtown.

The public spots created by the municipality allow for the legal consumption of alcohol sold through approved restaurants and bars. The state is allowing social districts through December 2024.

Grand Haven is among several Lakeshore communities that have rolled out the welcome mat for social districts. They are intended to foster a welcome-back vibe to patrons and enable bars and restaurants to recover sooner from the economic strain the COVID-19 outbreak.

Grand Haven Main Street’s Social District covers six blocks, spanning down Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Third Street and down the side streets of First and Second streets. 

While inside the district, those of drinking age can enjoy an alcoholic beverage from approved vendors utilizing authorized cups with the business logo or name and the Grand Haven Main Street Social District logo.
Currently approved venues that are able to serve in the Social District include Odd Side Ales, Grand Armory Brewing Co., 12 Corners Vineyards — Grand Haven Tasting Room, and The Kirby House.

More venues 

“This has been a work in progress for many months, and we are very thankful for our volunteers, the city of Grand Haven, and its City Council for believing in the safety and feasibility of this planned district,” says Jeremy Swiftney, executive director of Grand Haven Main Street. “Economic vitality and recovery from the pandemic are very important to our community and to Grand Haven Main Street.” 

The boundaries of Grand Haven's social district.
As more venues receive approval from the state of Michigan, the city will continue to open up the district to their business as well. 

Currently approved by Grand Haven City Council, but awaiting state approval, are Long Road Distillers, Anna’s House, The Grand Seafood & Oyster Bar, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Porto Bello restaurant, Tip-A-Few, and Tip Two. 

“This is just one more example of our business community, advocates, local leaders, and local residents all working together to assist in achieving these results for our Main Street businesses,” Swiftney says.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.