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Chicago bars that serve food can open outdoor space on June 3

The newfound allowance will be a game-changer for bars with kitchens throughout the city.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

With Phase 3 of the city's reopening plan kicking off on June 3, Mayor Lori Lightfoot revealed today that bars that serve food can also plan to emerge from lockdown with outdoor seating next week.

In previous press briefings, Mayor Lightfoot has explicitly said that bars and lounges will not be permitted to open in Phase 3. The newfound allowance applies only to bars that serve food alongside their drinks, a measure that's designed to control inebriated crowds, Lightfoot explained. As plenty of bars in Chicago offer some kind of food service, this clarification to the reopening plan will certainly change things for many bar owners. Lightfoot also hinted at a new bill that Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign that would allow the sale of individual to-go cocktails.

"If bars have food service, then they will be able to open up right away," Lightfoot says. "If the bar is just simply a bar and no food, obviously the new state law, which allows for the sale of cocktails, will be available to them, but bars aren't the same as restaurants. People, as we all know, lose their inhibitions when they're drinking, and it's more difficult I think for them to follow the social distancing guidance."

For now, bars that only serve booze won't be permitted to reopen their outdoor spaces in the first part of Phase 3, but Lightfoot says that they won't be forgotten.

"There will be a point where bars that are purely bars and no food service will be able to open up on a larger scale than currently what the state law allows, but right now, in this very first step into Phase 3, they will remain closed," Lightfoot says.

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