As of Jan. 1, last call at taverns and restaurants in North Riverside will come an hour earlier. That’s because at the Nov. 21 meeting of the North Riverside board, trustees voted unanimously to ban 4 a.m. closing times in the village.
Instead, all North Riverside establishments holding Class AA licenses, which currently allow liquor service until 4 a.m., will have to stop serving alcohol at 3 a.m., a move that Mayor Richard Scheck will keep the village from “getting a reputation that we’re the place to go at 4 a.m.” Scheck said the timing coincides with Cook County’s new law preventing any new 4 a.m. liquor licenses in unincorporated areas next year.
But whereas the Cook County law grandfathers in current 4 a.m. license holders, North Riverside will eliminate the 4 a.m. closing time for every establishment that holds such a license come the new year.
“This ordinance has been in effect since 1974, and it’s about time we cleaned it up a little bit,” Scheck said.
In some cases, the 4 a.m. license is moot, said Village Administrator Guy Belmonte, citing Steak & Eggcetera and Mother’s Day restaurant as holders of 4 a.m. licenses that close earlier than that.
Other 4 a.m. license holders, such as Frank Nadile, co-owner of Tipster’s Village Pub at 8839 W. Cermak Road, say the change won’t affect business too much, other than the late-night crowd that comes in for the Saturday night karaoke.
“It’s really not a problem for us,” Nadile said. “The 4 a.m. license is kind of a thing of the past. Late night business isn’t what it used to be. It’s almost to the point where you’re looking for trouble by staying open late.”
However, George Panos, owner of Jedi’s Garden restaurant at 2250 Harlem Ave., was not so happy about the new restriction.
“Of course it’ll be a problem,” Panos said. “Most [of our customers at that time] get out of the bars at 3 a.m. and come here. We’ll lose quite of few of our business.”
Matt Sullivan, owner of The Bar, 2433 Desplaines Ave., said that while the move will affect business somewhat, he favors the change to a 3 a.m. closing time.
“It’ll definitely have an effect, but I think it’s a pretty wise move,” Sullivan said. “It gets rid of a lot of headaches on our side as well. It’s win-win for everyone.”
According to Belmonte, the cost for the amended liquor license will not change. A Class AA liquor license will still cost $2,905.
Other amendments to the liquor code approved on Nov. 21 include the creation of a Class H license allowing for beer and wine sales only. The fee for that license was set at $2,110 per year.
The class was created to accommodate the request of Giovanni’s Restaurant, 7329 25th St. in the North Riverside Park Plaza, for such a license, according to Belmonte. He said that Steak & Eggcetera was also interested in obtaining that type of license as well.
In addition, the board amended the liquor code to limit the sales for alcohol at retail package stores. Starting Jan. 1, liquor will be available on a retail basis until 1 a.m. instead of 2 a.m. Last call at the village’s lone fraternal organization, the VFW Hall on Desplaines Avenue, will be 1 a.m. starting Jan. 1.