In a couple weeks people could be taking those alcoholic social drinks one block further south to enjoy with art and music in Port Huron.
On Monday, Port Huron City Council unanimously voted to approve expanding the social district to Union Street, including Foundry.
Port Huron Downtown Development Authority Director Cynthia Cutright said now the city will present this to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission with an updated master plan and map for the final OK, with approval probably granted within a couple weeks.
“I foresee a pretty quick turnaround to get that final approval,” she said.
Raven Café was the first business to start selling social district drinks in September and other businesses involved include CityFlatsHotel, Casey’s Pizza and Subs, Lynch’s Irish Tavern, McMorran Place Arena and Wings Etc.
As part of the social district, these businesses can sell customers to-go cups of 16 ounces or less for alcoholic beverages. The social district follows downtown’s Main Street along Huron Avenue and Military Street between Glenwood Avenue and Court Street, but with MLCC approval the district will extend further south to include Union Street.
Port Huron currently has the only social district in St. Clair County. The city sells social district drink stickers to participating businesses and so far has sold 4,000 drink stickers, Cutright said.
Cutright said Hall has been doing a lot of work for the space and Foundry brings people to downtown for classes and features. It is bringing in new clientele and creating excitement for art.
The hope is expanding the social district one block “is a benefit for everybody” and will optimize the synergy in the city. People can grab a drink at a business like Raven Café then go to Foundry for a pottery class or exhibit, Cutright said.
“I just think it makes sense,” said Jody Parmann, co-owner of Raven Café with her husband Sadaat Hossain.
She said Hall has a lot of good ideas on how to maximize the space and as a theater and music venue it makes sense for Foundry to be in the social district.
Specifically for businesses participating in the social district, it gives folks another reason to stop in and grab a drink before heading to check out Foundry. At Raven Café they can mix the boozy and coffee drinks and people can grab a mimosa before heading to a morning class there, Parmann said.
“It’s good to know that’s actually an option,” she said.
Hossain said he thinks this could increase business for Foundry and for the participating social district businesses. As more people discover the social district, the more people will utilize it and the better it will be.
“The more the merrier, really,” he said.
He was a big believer in the social district to begin with, not just because he’s a bar owner, but because this is something that adds to Port Huron’s uniqueness and is more incentive for people to visit downtown. Gives it a “bit of a more relaxed vibe” like New Orleans or Nashville, he said.
“I think it’s going to be great,” Hossain said. “This is exactly what we need to make our downtown unique.”
Hall did not respond to requests for comment.