BriejoFile 2010

The Oak Park village board OK’d changes to local liquor laws last week, making it easier to grab a cocktail around town.

Gone is the requirement that patrons must buy a food item in order to have a drink in the restaurant portion of establishments. And business districts outside downtown Oak Park can now have more than one retailer with a packaged liquor license (Walgreens has expressed interest in offering alcohol, but can’t because Jewel has the only licenses on Madison and Roosevelt).

Other changes include eliminating the need for establishments to physically separate their bar and restaurant areas, allowing theaters to serve beer and wine to patrons, and requiring that no more than 40 percent of a restaurant’s gross revenue can come from alcohol sales.

The restaurant changes only apply to establishments with B4 licenses — with separate eating and lounge areas. The changes don’t apply, yet, to places such as New Rebozo, Mancini’s or Marion Street Cheese Market that have different categories of licenses, according to the village clerk. The village hopes to consider the same changes for other types of licenses in September.

As for when they go into effect, there’s first a 10-day “posting period,” so they’d become law later this week.

Oak Park is exploring further changes to its liquor laws, such as allowing breweries and brew pubs to operate here, and adding two extra hours for brunch spots to serve alcohol starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Cheers,” said Trustee Ray Johnson as he was the final board member to vote 5-0 in favor of the changes. “I’ve been dying to say that for a long time.”

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