Denver leaders still trying to decide whether to allow beer in parks

Drink ’em in the park if you got ’em in the park.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo
Cheesman Park on a lovely winter day, March 3, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Cheesman Park on a lovely winter day, March 3, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This post was updated on June 4 with further information from parks spokesperson Cyndi Karvaski.

Under a proposed new policy and a new state law, Denver Parks and Recreation may stop allowing people to drink beer at city parks, unless it’s part of a permitted event, according to spokesperson Cyndi Karvaski.

However, that’s still up for discussion, Karvaski said.

This has been the subject of a lot of confusion.

Currently, the city allows people to freely drink weak “3.2 beer” in its parks.

Now, the entire state of Colorado is set for a big beer change. A law that takes effect on Jan. 1 makes a ton of changes, most importantly allowing full-strength beer sales at grocery stores.

The law also eliminates the legal category that allows 3.2 beer. As experts previously told Denverite, the change basically made it so that cities had to decide between full-strength beer or no beer at all for their parks.

Denver has been a bit vague about how it would respond to the new law, saying only that it would follow state and city rules. Then, Karvaski recently told Denverite that its newly proposed parks policy (combined with the new state law) would disallow free-range drinking.

“Unless (Denver) City Council brings forward a proposal that they allow beer in parks, or somehow a rule is made for the city and county of Denver … we would be following ‘no beer, no alcohol whatsoever in parks,'” she said.

“So, basically, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

But she later clarified that the parks department is still mulling over its options, and that it could still decide to allow beer in the parks as the final details of the state law are settled.

Otherwise,  Denver’s proposed new parks alcohol policy is actually more liberal about alcohol in the parks. It would allow more types of alcohol at events in a broader range of city parks.