Panama City’s Downtown Social District Expands

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Locals and tourists visiting downtown Panama City can now enjoy the social district in a different part of the city.

During Tuesday’s commission meeting, a 3-1 vote was taken to expand the district’s boundaries. The social district is where people can grab an adult beverage and walk around while sipping on their favorite beer.

In this map the lighter color is the new expansion of the social district.

Proposed social district expansion map(Marisa Gjuraj)

The expansion will now allow for the participation of other restaurants. More than 40 shops are part of the district, which operates 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The city’s social district refers to the downtown area where people can buy an alcoholic drink from a shop in the district and explore the area with it, but not everyone is in favor of the expansion.

“I’m very concerned about the social district,” said Mike Rohan, mayor of Panama City. “I have grandchildren and I consider downtown to be a family destination, and I think they’ve betrayed families by starting drinking at 10 a.m. First of all, I don’t think we should allow alcohol consumption to become widespread in downtown; I think it’s a bad idea.”

However, commissioners do not believe that this expansion and new hours will cause harm to the area.

“I think what we’re going to see is people who are going to go there to have their mimosas during brunch,” said Panama City Commissioner Brain Grainger. “I think that’s what we’re really going to see around 10 a.m. The area is just not conducive to that kind of spring break party atmosphere that’s not the vibe and energy that’s projected downtown.”

The possibility of changing the hours in the future was discussed during the meeting. Commissioners also say that since the social district was put in place, there have been no incidents where police have had to respond to problems in that area. To see all of the businesses participating in the social district, you can go here.