PHOENIX - Starting in 2023, visitors at some large outdoor retail spaces in Arizona would be able to sip alcoholic drinks as they shop thanks to a new state law.
At Desert Ridge Marketplace in north Phoenix, shoppers can check out stores and watch live music. Starting Jan. 12, they can do that with a beer, wine or cocktail in hand.
"Desert Ridge Marketplace actually kicked off the pilot program version of this program in 2019, and we were the only shopping center in Arizona to take advantage of that," said Katie Hauptman, spokesperson for Vesta. The company owns properties like Desert Ridge and Tempe Marketplace.
Shoppers can grab an alcoholic beverage from inside any participating bar or onsite restaurant thanks to a new state law making the pilot program permanent.
The legislation allows retail spaces of greater than 400,000 square feet with large pedestrian areas to grant their bars and restaurants permission to serve alcoholic drinks to people who want to shop and walk around the area.
In order to participate, properties must provide security, submit plans to the city it's located in, and get approval from the state's Department of Liquor.
People can't take drinks outside the property, and Hauptman says that certain guidelines will be enforced at Vesta properties.
"You will have to show proof that you are 21 or older," Hauptman explained. "You will get a wristband saying you can drink it in the common area, you will have it an approved plastic cup that the retailer will provide, and it will have to be during selected hours."
In the age of Amazon, where malls are seeing less and less foot traffic, Hauptman says they are looking to provide shoppers with more fun and unique experiences.
"You’re enjoying live music on a Friday night, and now you can enjoy a beverage with that right here on the district stage," the spokesperson said. "You are coming out to watch a game on the LED screen, and now you can enjoy a beer while you are watching a big game."
Desert Ridge Marketplace officially started the program on Thursday, Jan. 12. Shoppers 21 and older can enjoy beverages seven days a week, with varying times on weekends and weekdays.
Sip and stroll
Before the rain arrived in Phoenix, it was a nice Saturday to get out and enjoy yourself, and that now includes "Sip and Stroll."
We visited Desert Ridge on Jan. 14, just two days after the policy took effect.
"I mean, I think it’s pretty sick, you get to go into different bars and try different drinks," a woman named Ria said.
Quiarrah Mapp, says, "We were drinking and dancing to the music, which was really nice." She was actually at Desert Ridge Friday night and came back Saturday.
Lora Davis said the live music and new policy were enticing.
"I wanted to come and see some live music, so I thought I would give it a try," she said.
"I’m having a good time, the kids are having a good time too, it’s cool," a shopper said.
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Desert Ridge Marketplace