Last October I posted a short dispatch about the first legal cocktail cart in Portland, Ore. (pictured at left). It was a trial project and was set up by the Oregon Bartender's Guild to promote Portland Cocktail Week. The idea was to set a precedent and calm jittery nerves among Portlanders fearful of hipsters vending lurid drinks at every corner, unsteady bikers weaving in and out of traffic, high school kids reeking of vanilla from Captain Morgan, etc., etc.
Well, the evil plan seemed to work. The first long-term license for a cocktail cart was just granted. You can read about it here. Capsule summary: the license covers beer only, and it doesn't mean every one of Portland's 700 food carts will be able to get a license. If anything, it means that a cart can sell liquor if it agrees to no longer be a cart, and is willing to set up a hard, policed perimeter for consumption.
This is a great step forward for Portland. But as a New Orleanian who does not live under the jackbooted tyranny of open container laws, I don't see this as a huge step forward globally. Me, I'd take stationary bars and go-cups over mobile bars and a monitored imbibing zone any day.