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Navy Pier Could Allow Drinking In Public Under New Ordinance

By Rachel Cromidas in News on May 21, 2015 3:15PM

Design by James Corner Field Operations (Courtesy Navy Pier Press Office)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants you to be able to get your beer to-go at Navy Pier under an ordinance introduced Wednesday.

Visitors to Navy Pier's taverns and bars this summer would be allowed to "consume and carry" the open containers of alcohol they've purchased as they stroll the Navy Pier grounds, both indoors and outdoors under a new ordinance before City Council. But the containers of alcohol must have been purchased through one of the Navy Pier restaurants, taverns or pushcarts that have a valid liquor license and the containers must be "a disposable cup that clearly identifies the name of the establishment" it came from.

One off-limits area of Navy Pier for the ordinance would be the parking garages, which would have signs around them presumably reminding patrons not to carry an open container of alcohol back to their cars.

Violators could face fines between $100 and $500 or six months in jail.

Right now, drinking outside of a licensed establishment with seats at Navy Pier is prohibited, unless the drink has been purchased at a Navy Pier kiosk.

This change to the drinking rules at Navy Pier will likely add to the lakefront amusement park's changing ambiance. Navy Pier is undergoing a series of renovations, including changes to the South Dock and a new park being built at the entrance with a $20 million gift from the Polk Bros. Foundation. That gift also includes the funding for several other renovations, including "performance lawns" at the south end of the pier with two stages and an interactive fountain that will serve as an ice rink in the winter.

The donation comes as the city prepares to celebrate Navy Pier's 100th anniversary in 2016. But Navy Pier's transformation appears to be at least a year behind schedule due to bad weather, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and attendance numbers are slightly lagging.