Speakeasy's returning to Chicago, thanks to Daley?


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Mr. X
June 20, 2005, 03:57 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160033,00.html

Daley Wants to Shutter Taverns

Sunday, June 19, 2005

CHICAGO Taverns and booze are entwined with Chicago's history and lore from Al Capone's bootlegging empire to the tavern owner whose curse on the Cubs is blamed for keeping them out of the World Series for a half century. But the dark, cool watering holes where for decades laborers dropped by for a belt on the way home are drying up.

The city that once boasted as many 7,600 taverns in the early 1900s has just over 1,300 today. Now Mayor Richard Daley (search) is pushing an ordinance that would make it easier to close taverns the latest volley in a battle against the kinds of liquor-selling establishments that some say are magnets for everything from prostitution to littering.

Add to that rapidly changing neighborhoods and a growing number of upscale residents who'd rather see a bistro than a bar on the corner, and it keeps getting tougher to find an honest-to-goodness bar to belly up to.

"The neighborhood bar used to be the country club of the community," said John Kelly, whose father opened Kelly's Pub the day after Prohibition ended and who started running it in 1957. "They've kind of gone by the wayside."

It's a similar story in other cities, including Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston. One official thinks the trend will continue, in large part because elected officials don't want to be seen as advocates for bars.

"If it's going to be (a liquor license) for a chi chi restaurant with a celebrity chef, wonderful," said Daniel Pokaski, chairman of the Boston Licensing Board. "But if it's for a corner bar, forget it... They are deathly afraid of their own shadows in those situations."

In Chicago's days gone by, poor and blue-collar neighborhoods looked to taverns as community centers, hiring halls, and banks. Often it seemed taverns were the only places to watch a ball game or just escape the sweltering heat.

Though those days were long gone by the time Daley took office in 1989, there still were well over 3,000 taverns in the city.

Intent on making Chicago a more attractive and family-friendly city, Daley pointed to the corner tavern. Careful to say he wasn't opposed to all of them, the mayor said some were havens for crime, garbage and noise. As evidence that the mayor is not trying to impose his own kind of Prohibition, city officials point out that the number of restaurants that serve alcohol has actually climbed in recent years.

Still, in Daley's first full year on the job, the Liquor Control Commission revoked 49 liquor licenses, compared with 11 the year before he took office. Since then, about 1,000 licenses for taverns, liquor stores and other businesses that sell liquor have been revoked.

Daley also dusted off a largely unknown law that allows residents to vote their precincts dry.

Since 1990, dozens of precincts have been voted dry (a handful have been voted wet), putting many taverns, liquor stores and restaurants out of business. Today, some 430 of the city's 2,706 precincts are dry.

The city initiated an aggressive sting operation in which the police sent minors into taverns to see if they'd sell them liquor. And Daley pushed for a state law which ultimately passed in the mid-1990s that allowed voters to shut down individual liquor-serving establishments.

Many residents were receptive to Daley's efforts.

"I didn't want to send my kids to the grocery store because they'd have to walk past it," Felicia Sciascia said of a tavern with a soundtrack that routinely included shattering glass, fights and even gunfire for years until it closed last year.

Tavern owners and others say some of the loudest complaints have come not from longtime residents like Sciascia but from newcomers who are turning once blue-collar enclaves into pricey hot spots.

"These people move in, pay $1 million or $2 million for houses and they have a little bit of a feeling they are entitled to say what the neighborhood should be," said Timothy Glascott, whose father in 1937 opened a tavern that today is Glascott's Groggery.

"It's like the way people will buy a house under the flight path at O'Hare and complain about the noise," said Perry Duis, author of "The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920," and a University of Illinois-Chicago history professor.

A vote-dry referendum that came close to getting on the ballot in one precinct in the early 1990s could have forced the closure of the acclaimed restaurant Charlie Trotter's. Trotter said he would have left the city had the referendum passed but understands residents' concerns.

"The bars are filthy and nasty behind them, they smell like urine (and they're) noisy," he said. "If I were a neighbor living here and had to deal with... these grim, pathetic places, I would get mad enough to vote the neighborhood dry."

Daley is seeking a new ordinance that would enable residents to take on individual taverns. Under his proposal, the burden of proof would be on the owners of bars or liquor stores to show they aren't hurting their neighborhoods.

"A good liquor store can be a worthwhile part of a commercial strip," Daley said when he announced the plan last month. "But a bad liquor establishment can destroy the quality of life."

But others counter that all taverns are at risk, whether they are run responsibly or not. And that, they say, will ultimately hurt the city.

"We complain about the fact that we've become cities of strangers," said Duis, "and yet for some strange reason we go out and destroy places where people meet face to face."

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fedlaw
June 20, 2005, 04:37 PM
Al Capone's bootlegging empire

Chicago is still Al Capone's town and it still wags the state. (see, Nothing personal intended, but Illinois sucks!!!!, post)

HankB
June 20, 2005, 04:49 PM
This strongly suggests that Daley and his cronies have financial ties to speakeasys.

Cellar Dweller
June 21, 2005, 02:28 PM
Daley also dusted off a largely unknown law that allows residents to vote their precincts dry.

Doesn't this interfere with interstate commerce in the lawful selling of beverages? :evil:

Under his proposal, the burden of proof would be on the owners of bars or liquor stores to show they aren't hurting their neighborhoods.

Other than being a member of the local Chamber of Commerce (and sponsoring a little league team, if THAT'S not prohibited by now), how does one PROVE that they are not hurting the neighborhood? Winos don't keep or usually even GET receipts...

Patrick Fitzgerald's heat must be getting to him finally: Trotter's and other politico gathering spots were endangered by the "largely unknown law" so a new one is proposed - not that long ago they would have been shielded/grandfathered, regardless of the rest of the precinct being voted dry.

Justin
June 21, 2005, 02:37 PM
You know, The Women's Christian Temperance Union may have been ostracized into irrelevance, but that hasn't stopped idiotic prohibitionists from trying to force their warped and skewed views of morality on everyone else.

HankB
June 21, 2005, 05:35 PM
Same old, same old . . . TICKET TRAP

CHICAGO (AP) _ Some Chicago motorists got an unhappy surprise last week. They returned to their cars and found parking meters -- and tickets, too. The meters were installed while the cars were legally parked, then a meter maid issued the tickets. A spokeswoman for the city's revenue department says it was all just an innocent mistake. The area had been a construction zone and meters that were temporarily removed had been replaced

El Tejon
June 21, 2005, 05:41 PM
Justin, isn't the WTCU still HQed in Evanston?

If they mess with Spike's Rat Bar . . . :fire:

The solution is obvious, start calling yourself "Kirk's Corner Pub and Abortion Clinic"--no way the Democrats would shut you down then! :neener: :D

Boss Spearman
June 22, 2005, 07:01 AM
Chicago is the real mistake by the lake.

c_yeager
June 22, 2005, 08:06 AM
You know, The Women's Christian Temperance Union may have been ostracized into irrelevance, but that hasn't stopped idiotic prohibitionists from trying to force their warped and skewed views of morality on everyone else.

In this vein its interesting to note that modern-day speakeasys are soon to return in light of the nifty new "no smoking in private businessess" laws. They are already beginning to appear in places that have already enacted such laws, and i suspect, will continue to do so.

Kingcreek
June 22, 2005, 09:52 AM
This strongly suggests that Daley and his cronies have financial ties to speakeasys.
Bingo HankB!
King Richard II and his Chicago Machine have thier hands in EVERY cookie jar.

Master Blaster
June 22, 2005, 10:05 AM
Doesn't this interfere with interstate commerce in the lawful selling of beverages?

When prohibition ended laws governing the licensing of retail and Wholesale sales of alcoholic beverages were left up to the individual states, some states made state wide regulations others left it up to local government. So some states have Dry towns, and dry counties wher its illegal to sell or even possess alcohol!!!!!

If you go to Ocean City NJ its a dry town, right before the town limits in Somers point NJ there is the Circle Liquour Mart a huge store which cater to folks heading into the Desert so to speak!!!!!

The Feds only make sure that the tax assessed per gallon of Neutral Spirits is paid. The Fed tax rate for Liquour, Wine and Beer are different.

sctman800
June 23, 2005, 02:45 AM
Back in 1970 I was stationed at Fort Knox Kentucky and there were several "dry" counties surrounding the base. IIRC, and it has been a long time, on highway 31 just north of Ft. Knox was "Bernies". If you were going south it was "Bernies Last Chance" if you were going north the sign said "Bernies First Chance". Brings back some old memories. Jim.

Justin
June 23, 2005, 03:19 AM
El Tejon-

Indeed you are correct! (http://www.wctu.org/contact_us.html)

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