It's Always 4 a.m. Somewhere
Tom Tunney’s cracking down. The 44th Ward alderman has had it with Wrigleyville’s booze-soaked reputation. He’s sick of bar after bar after bar littering his neighborhood, sick of drunken young urban professionals that don’t act quite so professional after a long night out. He’s finally listening to constituents that are less than thrilled to wake up to a crusty puddle of vomit on their front steps. And he’s enlisting others to help with improvement of Chicago’s partyingest enclaves.
Tunney’s putting the kibosh on any new bars that want to stay open ‘till 4 a.m. They’ve already done the same thing downtown in the 42nd Ward, thanks to good ol’ Burt Natarus. Vi Daley, 43rd Ward alderman, is also getting in on the act, turning down all further requests for 4 a.m. liquor licenses in her Lincoln Park-based ward. Tunney’s also getting tough on rooftop beer gardens. Apparently when Casey Moran’s on Clark applied for an outdoor liquor license, it raised a red flag on Tunney’s team, most likely because it gave the adjacent bar more capacity. We’re not sure what the big deal is there; how would having a beer garden on one’s roof impact a neighbor’s zoning?
We’re more concerned about the 4 a.m. license piffle. Capping the number of after-hours establishments won’t do dick if everyone’s drunk by 9 p.m., as we have frequently seen around Wrigleyville. Psst, Tom: It’s named Wrigleyville for a reason. There’s a ball park in there somewhere, amongst all those bars! And that ball park will still serve liquor for upwards of two hours, sending patrons home smashed before dinner. Then there’s the matter of how many late night bars there actually are in the 44th ward. We took the liberty of creating a Google mashup with all the 4 a.m. bars we could find off of Metromix and Centerstage. (Take with a grain of salt, of course.) Based on our findings, there are only nine such bars in Tunney’s ward, compared to…well, we think there’s that many at State & Division alone.
The police are weighing in on the situation, too: "George Rosebrock said he had two homicides last year, and one was 50 feet away from a bar with a 4 a.m. license." Really? How close was it to a restaurant that also served booze? Will they shut all those down now? This seems to be another case of knee-jerk reactions. Don’t get us wrong, we hate putting up with obnoxious boozeheads times infinity. But we’ve come to accept that if people want to drink, they’re gonna drink, even if cutoff is 10 p.m. They’ll just shotgun it that much faster at last call.