Charleston City Council aiming for PODA ordinance allowing for to-go outdoor alcohol in designated areas

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After Huntington became the first West Virginia city to allow alcohol to be served to-go in certain areas outdoors, Charleston is now also trying to get on board with the move.

Legislation known as PODA, or Private Outdoor Designated Areas for alcoholic beverages to be consumed was passed in West Virginia earlier this year, and earlier this month, the State Alcohol Beverage Control Administration approved the permit for two bars in Huntington.

Now, Ward 20 Charleston City Council member Chad Robinson came on WCHS Radio’s 580 LIVE Wednesday to announce the newly composed bill by the council to allow the same permit to come to the Capitol City, as well as where the target locations for PODA would be if passed.

“This is something important for our downtown businesses,” Robinson said on 580 LIVE Wednesday. “Not only for our downtown businesses, but the PODAs that are drafted in the current bill are City Center Slack Plaza, Elk City, Bridge Road, and the Capitol Market.”

Chad Robinson

Along with enforcing patrons to stay in the designated areas with their alcoholic drinks at the four proposed locations, the ordinance would also require them to purchase a designated plastic cup at the bars of these locations to drink it out of, which Robinson said would either be color-coordinated or have a PODA logo on it.

Robinson said signage will be posted on all entries and exits of the PODAs explaining the precise guidelines.

He gave an example of how this would look here in downtown Charleston on perhaps a typical Friday night.

“You’d go into say, Fife Street, buy an alcoholic beverage in a designated cup, all of those restaurants or bars will have designated cups that you purchase, walk down Fife Street, the ally, enjoy your adult beverage, walk into Adelphia, have another drink,” he explained.

Robinson said it’s a bipartisan bill which has gotten support from both the House and Senate, as well as the majority of council members and the community, as a whole.

“I’ve had nothing but positive comments, I may have received one negative, but it wasn’t really negative, it was more, ‘hey, Chad, look at this,” Robinson said.

He said downtown bars and restaurants have also been greatly in support of the ordinance as they believe it would only enhance their businesses.

“It’s good for our businesses, it’s something that gives them an option to work together to build more customer-base downtown,” said Robinson.

Robinson said he and some other council members will meet with downtown restaurants and businesses tomorrow, Thursday, September 28 at 9 a.m. at Adelphia Sports Bar to discuss the proposed ordinance further and make any necessary changes that work with them.

On Monday, October 2 they will meet with the full council to take up that drafted ordinance.