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Happy hour could soon be legal in Chicago

Happy hour could soon be legal in Chicago
Photograph: Martha Williams

The Illinois House passed a bill this week that would allow for restaurants and bars to hold happy hours, a practice that was banned in 1989. The Culinary and Hospitality Modernization Act would allow establishments to offer discounted alcohol up to four hours each day and 15 hours a week. It would ban the discounts after 10pm.

The bill would also allow restaurants to offer food and alcohol pairings as well as house-infused spirits, which are both strangely banned by the state. On top of that, it would establish a program called Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training, which would teach servers to identify signs of intoxication and help curb underage sales. 

The next step for the bill is the Illinois Senate, where it will likely pass. Given Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business agenda, there seems little standing in the way of happy hours in Chicago.



John B

WTF!!! I was President of the Chicago Chapter of M.A.D.D. in the late 80's, and pushed HARD for the law against this!

How stupid is it to offer 2-1 drinks at the end of a tiring work day? The happy hours used to run 4-6 or 5-7, thus people would order many before the cut off, then drink and hit the road, while kids are srill out on the streets! STUPID! ABSOLUTELY STUPID!

When we passed this law, restaurants started offering appetizers instead, cutting down the amount of alcohol consumed and putting food in their empty tummys... a real success... how FOOLISH to end this!


How foolish of you to think saving people money is a mistake! That's exactly why a 2 for 1 drink special would make a long, tiring day better. Also, alcohol increases appetite! Which would mean more appetizers being served.

David G

@MarcJ You can charge what ever you like as long as it is all day. Happy Hour would allow you to discount for a few hours.

Mark J

I understand the reasoning of *why* 'Happy Hour' was initially banned in some states, however this was yet another example of legislators waste of taxpayer's money. Every day in this city, there are thousands of bars and restaurants that are *legally* offering 1/2 price drinks, $1 dollar shots, in-house alcohol infused beverages, plus wine parings, beer pairings even champagne pairings. So what was the point of initiating a "Happy Hour Ban" in the first place? I'm beyond confused. :O~/

Matthew M

@Mark J Well, now the operators that follow the rules can do it. Simply put its leveling the playing feild for those of us who operate according to the law.