For about 100 years, the village of Oak Park (VOP) prohibited* the sale of alcohol. Now, VOP not only permits the sale of alcohol but also subsidizes its indulgence. 


The proposed “Gateway Brewpub” at Austin and Lake advances a new direction for progress in Oak Park: the “vice economic development strategy.” If VOP wants vice in its gateways, here are more businesses they can offer tax abatements and subsidies:

Gateway Video Gaming (somewhere on North Ave.)

Play video slots and poker on giant, extraordinary 90-inch 3D screens for a total immersive gambling experience. Giant, extraordinary 3D screens hurl players into the machine zone to experience the experience of playing. In no time, they lose track of time and space.

Local craft beers from Gateway Brewpub to enhance your gambling experience.

Losing limits so you don’t go broke, just poorer than you were and able to return the next day.

Remember to gamble responsibly. 

Gateway Smoke Emporium (somewhere on Harlem) 

A social smoking center, from hookahs to just a plain pack of unfiltered cigarettes. No vaping allowed. Only hard-core nicotine intake.

Finest tobacco in the world from Cuba, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Honduras.

Emporium is divided by nicotine use with a cigar room, a pipe-smoking room, a cigarette-pack room, a wigwam for peace pipes, and a chewing-tobacco room (spittoons within spitting distance).

Special hookah room has a Bohemian atmosphere with dim lights, comfy chairs, booths, and circular tables. 

Attentive, knowledgeable staff with an expertise in hookah. 

Robust menu and endless hookah tobacco flavors. 

Smoke trick classes every week for customers to learn smoke bubbles, tornado shotgun, smoke hearts, smoke glass, French inhale, Cheerios smoke, and much much more.

Happy hour and promotions: 

Guest appearances by smoking icons such as Joe Camel, Marlboro Man, and Don Draper.

For non-smokers, bubble gum cigars and chocolate cigarettes offered.

Immense, industrial exhaust fans blow tobacco smoke into Forest Park so Oak Parkers don’t have to breathe it.

Remember to use tobacco responsibly.

Gateway Medical? Cannabis Depot (somewhere on Roosevelt Road)

An ethical cannabis retail shop selling organic and local craft weed. All plants are seasonally sun grown, trimmed, manicured, and hand cured for maximum THC and CBD levels. To increase yields, employees talk to the marijuana plants, and not just in polite conversation about inconsiderable matters but about topics of immense depth in speech filled with unctuous phrases, and wandering, ponderous vocabulary, much like this sentence. 

The local craft weed menu includes:

Hemingway Haze – mood elevating, may not get you to write one true sentence but you won’t really care

Tarzan Apeman Reefer – jungle aromas, vine-swinging high

Doris Humphrey Dream Buds – choreographic, full-body relaxation for fall and recovery

VMA Hey Man Let’s Party – musky smell, we’re-in-charge psychoactive effects 

OPEDC Sage Diesel – diesel-like aroma, guaranteed to make you think you know more than the marketplace

VOP Mayor + Trustees Brainwreck – full body euphoria with cerebral non-lucidity for delusions in decision making

Remember to smoke dope responsibly.

* Alcohol prohibition in Oak Park was also known as the Forest Park Assistance Act.

Byron Lanning is an east-of-Ridgeland Oak Parker and a beer drinker.

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