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Explore the DORA in Tipp City
A Guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of this New Outdoor Attraction

By Tammie Rafferty

For My Miami County

TIPP CITY - As you stroll Main Street in downtown Tipp City, you will notice red and green signs with the DORA logo posted along the street and coordinating stickers in many of the business windows.  Treat them like a game of “Red Light Green Light” for adults over the age of 21.


DORA is a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, refreshment meaning alcoholic beverage. Ohio passed legislation in 2015 to make these areas a possibility for communities who meet strict guidelines. There are less than 50 approved areas in the entire state, and thanks to Downtown Tipp City Partnership Executive Director, Kim Bulgin, downtown Tipp City is one of them. 


Bulgin has worked diligently throughout the last year to provide additional opportunities for the downtown Tipp City merchants while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions. Bulgin says, “The DORA highlights the area as a destination for dining, shopping and entertainment and provides alternative outdoor spaces to allow our businesses to serve more customers and generate more sales.” She added that it is also, “expanding opportunities for the community to transition back to socialization.” 


The DORA was established in October 2020 and is expected to be more and more popular as spring approaches.

Lisa and Shawn Richards, owners of Chaffee’s Brewhouse, said the concept is already going over well.

“People seem to enjoy the concept,” Shawn said. “It has been extremely popular during downtown events and it will be utilized more as we head into warmer weather and foot traffic increases. All the feedback we’ve heard from people has been positive.”


The DORA is not just improving business at bars and restaurants, but also at the retail shops. Amanda Carl, manager at Browse Awhile Books, says they allow DORA drinks in their store because: “We want to make everyone feel welcome inside. Bring your drink and bring your dog, if you want.” 

Welcoming is the common DORA thread between all businesses downtown.  Lisa Santucci, Tipp City Public Library Director, says she wants people to “feel free to enjoy their DORA beverage at one of the tables in the alley next to the library or even sitting on the library’s front wall.”


Bulgin has paved the way for the first DORA in Miami County and is now working with Troy, Xenia and Middleton to bring DORAs to their cities. 
“We are leading by example,” she said. “It is important for everyone to know the rules and abide by them so we can continue to enjoy the DORA.”


Keeping this in mind, the following is a list of DORA do’s and don’ts to guide community members and visitors through this exciting addition to Tipp City.

Questions & Answers About DORA 


Can I bring my own beverage downtown? 

NO, but you can purchase a drink in a DORA logoed cup at seven locations: Bodega Market, Chaffee’s Brewhouse, Coldwater Café, Eagles Aerie 2201, Harrison’s Restaurant, Tony’s Bada Bing, and VFW Post 4615.  Each location has a white sign stating, “DORA Sold Here.” There is no extra charge for a DORA cup thanks to the sponsorship of Bruns Realty during the DORA’s inaugural year.


Once you have purchased your drink of choice, feel free to roam about town with your DORA cup. Keep your eyes open for the red and green DORA street signs.  If you see a red DORA sign, DO NOT pass it. Red means stop and drop your cup!  Many trash receptacles can be found around town and more are being installed this week.

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Can I shop with my DORA beverage? 

YES. There are many shops downtown that allow you to bring your drink inside while you browse.  Look for the DORA stickers in business windows. Green means go inside with your cup and red means stop. Always Blooming Flowers, Browse Awhile Books, Fox and Feather Trading Co., Golden Leaf Tea Room, Living Simply Soap, Sam & Ethel’s Restaurant, and Topsy Turvy Toys are just some of the places who welcome you and your DORA drink.


Where can I sit outside and enjoy a drink? 

Anywhere within the green DORA sign limits. There are a number of tables, chairs, and benches along Main Street. More have recently been added thanks to a United Way grant.

Can I use the DORA all the time? 

NO. Tipp City’s DORA is in effect seven days a week within certain time frames. It begins at 11:00 am every day but Sunday, when it does not start until noon. The DORA allows you to enjoy your beverage outdoors until 10:00 pm Monday through Thursday, until 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday, and until 8:00 pm on Sunday.


Can I pour other beverages into my DORA cup? 

NO. There is no exception to this rule, especially during special events that may be tempting, like Firs Friday events and other upcoming beer and wine tastings. Tastings must be done inside each offering location and will be closely monitored.


Can I walk around other events with my DORA cup? 

YES. The Downtown Tipp City Merchants are hosting a Shop Hop on March 20th, which is a perfect time to check out the DORA signs and test your “Red Light Green Light” game. As the weather warms and more events are added to the calendar, there will be many opportunities for you to practice your DORA skills, including at the Farmers Market, rumored to return this year!


For more information about the Tipp City DORA, click HERE.  If you have questions or need to report exceptions to the DORA rules, contact the Downtown Tipp City Partnership at 937-667-0883.

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Shawn Richards, co-owner of Chaffee’s Brewhouse, stands with the official DORA cup in-hand. (Photo by Tammie Rafferty). Photo of DORA cup at the top of the page and DORA map courtesy of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership.

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Pretty Morning Shot of Downtown Tipp Cit