We've got some exciting news in the field of decorative, outdoor alcohol consumption:
The Columbus Facade Board that regulates downtown storefronts just adopted a new standard for marking the borders of Broadway's outdoor cafes.
Outdoor cafes are where you can enjoy this crisp fall weather by sitting at a table outside a restaurant and drinking alcohol without getting arrested — unless you get up and walk away with your beverage, in which case you will be arrested.
Why? Because the outdoor cafe by law is the only space along the sidewalk in which you can drink booze. Once you leave that space, you commit the crime of drinking in public, even if you just step across an imaginary line dividing one outdoor cafe from another next to it.
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So if you buy a drink in The Vault's outdoor cafe at 1026 Broadway and step over into the Locos Amigos Cantina's outdoor cafe at 1030 Broadway, you can get in big trouble, though it might seem you never left an outdoor cafe, having only an imaginary line between them.
Technically, you ventured beyond the cafe in which you bought the drink, therefore you broke the law.
That's why it's important to clearly mark the imaginary line you may not cross, and a standard marker's what the facade board just adopted.
The bounds of an outdoor cafe go like this: The border farthest from the building is the curb, along which a restaurant may set tables. It also may set tables close to the front wall of the building. Between there and the tables along the curb, the sidewalk must remain open to pedestrians — a path at least 7 feet wide.
The sides of the outdoor cafe align with the sides of the building from which it extends, and even if two buildings with outdoor cafes are side by side, a border still divides them.
Downtown's fancy street improvements helped mark part of the outdoor cafe: brick paving at the front of the buildings and by the curb shows where the tables can go; the concrete sidewalk between them must remain clear.
But for delineating the side borders, downtown businesses use such a variety of markers that the facade board decided a standard design was needed.
Finding that standard was the task given Dave Wolf. Wolf went to Lowe's and got a section of black metal fencing, 40 inches tall and 4 feet wide, for $28.97, and two fence posts for $13.94. He ordered 2 foot-square metal bases for $40, so the whole thing cost about $83.
This is the stanchion the board adopted for all new outdoor cafes, in the hope that the next time restaurateurs mark the line dividing adjacent cafes, they will assemble this metal fence section to delineate it.
Keep that in mind, when you're outside drinking downtown, so you'll know where you can't go. Keep in mind also that if during a brawl the stanchion falls over and a metal fence post falls out, some combatant is sure to try to crack someone's skull with it.
If while dashing for safety you exit the outdoor cafe, don't forget to leave your drink behind.