Carmel considering designated outdoor area for alcoholic beverages 


It could soon become legal to walk around part of central Carmel with an open alcoholic beverage in hand. 

The Carmel City Council is expected to introduce an ordinance at its July 1 meeting creating a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA. Those who are 21 and older may purchase alcoholic beverages at participating DORA locations and enjoy the drinks within the area. 

Carmel’s DORA is proposed to stretch north to south from Main Street to Carter Green and east to west from Range Line Road to the Monon Greenway. 

City Councilor Jeff Worrell said he has been researching the concept, which became legal in Indiana in 2023, for the past year. He said it would ease the process for selling and consuming alcohol at the many festivals in the area but that it would likely be in effect at other times, as well. 

“It makes sense for a lot of reasons,” Worrell said. 

Restaurants and vendors in the DORA choose whether to participate. Those that opt in must provide the alcoholic beverages in a standardized DORA cup. Other alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the DORA. Worrell said he expects stickers or markings to be placed on the ground to designate the DORA boundaries. 

If the DORA is approved, the council plans to update a separate ordinance that prohibits alcoholic beverage consumption on the Monon Greenway. 

Worrell said Carmel residents and guests have generally behaved responsibly when consuming alcohol at other events and he expects the same in the DORA. 

“For years, I’ve been personally responsible for telling (guests) to bring (their) alcohol to PorchFest. I don’t have any drunk people showing up there,” he said. “I think we’re going to err on the side of assuming the best of people. And, we have a police department that, if you’re drunk, they will arrest you.” 

The Carmel City Council’s July 1 meeting is at 6 p.m. at Carmel City Hall.