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August 14, 2006

Chicago bars found breaking the law

CHICAGO—The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) issued notices of violations to thirteen liquor license holders during an inspection of 22 Chicago establishments.  The primary objective of the August 3, 2006 inspections was to determine whether “bottle service” was being conducted illegally on these premises, as published in recent media reports and advertisements.
“Bottle service” is the selling of an entire bottle of distilled spirits (ie., vodka, gin, whiskey, etc.) to a table or group of patrons.  Any establishment found conducting this practice—which is prohibited under Illinois law—is subject to a fine, suspension, or revocation of their liquor license.  Those cited will have their cases heard before the ILCC on Wednesday, August 23, 2006, 10am in the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. in Chicago.  During these hearings, the cited establishments will have an opportunity to show cause as to why their liquor license should not be fined, suspended, or revoked.
“Bottle service does not allow the bar staff to properly supervise alcohol consumption by its patrons,” says ILCC Executive Director Michael Malone.  “The health, safety, and welfare of the general public is at risk when licensees allow their patrons to be overserved.”
Those liquor establishments selected for inspection had either appeared in a recent news article or placed advertisements in the local media discussing their use of bottle service.  Of those inspected, the following establishments were cited for conducting bottle service:
• LePassage: 937 N. Rush/1 E. Oak
• Plush: 1104 W. Madison
• Stone Lotus: 873 N. Orleans
• Victor Hotel: 311 N. Sangamon
• Zentra: 923 W. Weed
• Reserve: 858 W. Lake
• Four: 1551 W. Division
• Virgin Lounge: 123 N. Halsted/857 Randolph
• RiNo: 343 W. Erie
• Hard Drive (Hyatt): 151 E. Wacker
• Enclave: 213 W. Institue
• Jet Vodka Lounge: 1551 N. Sheffield
• Wet: 209 W. Lake
Bottle service was outlawed as part of the Happy Hour Law, which was passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 1989. “It is designed to eliminate the over-consumption of alcoholic liquor and to eliminate promotions that encourage over-consumption,” Malone states. “We take this law seriously; those found guilty will face the consequences.”
Other activities prohibited by the Happy Hour Law include the following:
1. Serving two or more drinks to one person for consumption by that person.
2. Serving an unlimited amount of drinks during a set period of time for a fixed price.
3. Reducing prices of drinks during a specified period during the day or to a specified group of individuals.
4. Increasing the volume of alcoholic liquor contained in a without proportionately increasing the price regularly charged for that drink on that given day.
5. Encouraging or permitting games or contests which involve drinking alcoholic liquor or awarding drinks as prizes.
6. Advertising, in any way, any practice prohibited by the Happy Hour Law.
7. Serving traditionally “individual” drinks in carafes, pitchers, etc., is considered by the Commission to be a violation of Happy Hour.
Further information on liquor license laws can be found by visiting the Illinois Liquor Control Commission website: www.state.il.us/lcc.
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