Short Pump Town Center wants to allow people to walk around the mall with alcoholic beverages open and in hand.
The Henrico County mall recently filed a request with the Virginia ABC for one of the alcohol control agency’s commercial lifestyle center licenses, which would allow Short Pump’s visitors to consume alcoholic beverages in the mall’s common areas. The mall hopes to offer the perk no later than spring 2023.
“In short, it is similar to an ‘open container’ license and will allow visitors over the age of 21 to take their purchased alcoholic beverages (bought at one of our tenant restaurants) out with them while they shop,” said a spokeswoman for Brookfield Properties, the New York firm that co-owns the mall.
The company offers similar open-container programs at other properties in its portfolio.
“We are always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience and we’ve seen this trend become more common in other outdoor centers and more popular with customers,” the spokeswoman said.
The desired ABC license permits the licensee to allow on-premises drinking by visitors, so long as the drinks are purchased from restaurant tenants. The licensee itself can’t sell alcoholic beverages.
All of the mall’s restaurant tenants that hold ABC on-premises licenses would be allowed to participate in the program, though participation is voluntary, the mall spokeswoman said. Restaurants at Short Pump mall that sell alcohol include Casa del Barco, The Boathouse, Lehja and Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.
State law requires holders of such licenses to designate their open-container areas. Short Pump is planning to allow visitors to sip on their alcoholic beverages throughout the mall’s common areas on both the lower and upper levels. Drinks wouldn’t be able to be carried out to the parking lot.
The alcoholic beverages must be served in disposable cups that display the name or logo of the restaurant they bought it from, per state law.
Brookfield Properties applied for the license more than a week ago. It hopes to receive a decision on the request in three to six months.
There are nine active commercial lifestyle center license holders in Virginia, none of which are in the Richmond area, according to an ABC spokeswoman.