City allows four bars to serve alcohol later

Northwestern students can party a little later this year.

Evanston City Council on Sept. 9 issued extended hours liquor licenses to The Keg of Evanston, 810 Grove St., Pete Miller’s Steakhouse, 1557 Sherman Ave., and Tommy Nevin’s Pub and Restaurant, 1450 Sherman Ave.

The three bars join the 1800 Club, 1800 Sherman Ave., in pouring drinks until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 a.m. the rest of the week, an hour past the traditional closing times. The 1800 Club received its late-night license on June 24.

Even with the proliferation of late-night watering holes, “it is still going to be the same Evanston,” said Jamie Fritze, general manager at Nevin’s.

“We attract mostly a university and local crowd, and new people aren’t coming out just because we are open an hour later,” she said.

Patrons at the 1800 Club have stayed later at the bar since it received its license, said Salim Ani, the club’s manager.

“We have seen a consistent crowd from 1 a.m. until closing at 2 a.m. during the week and 3 on the weekends,” Ani said.

The council voted unanimously to allow Pete Miller’s and Nevin’s to stay open later, and voted 8-1 for The Keg.

The council had denied The Keg an extended hours license May 20. During the meeting, Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) cited a May 10 fight in front of The Keg in which eight people were arrested, and asked the council to postpone granting the license until the bar could improve its record.

Rainey voted against granting The Keg a license at the Sept. 9 meeting, citing safety and crime concerns.

“People who drink there are totally irresponsible,” Rainey said at the meeting. “Each hour (The Keg) is open is another hour police attention is absent somewhere else.”

Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th) said The Keg has “held the highest standards” in its operations and has called the police in the event of problems.

He also cited the bar’s donation of food to city picnics as an example of The Keg’s contributions to Evanston.

“We have allowed several institutions to have this license,” Bernstein said. “Why are we picking on The Keg?”

The decision to allow bars to stay open past 1 a.m. will affect both proprietors and the city positively, said Tom Migon, The Keg’s owner.

“This will generate more tax revenue for the city,” Migon said. “Plus, eventually, I think we will see more people coming to Evanston to spend money, which benefits all businesses.”

The Keg has addressed safety concerns by hiring more doormen for busy nights, Migon said.

Evanston Police Department will not increase the number of officers patrolling the area near the bars, said Cmdr. Michael Perry of EPD.

“If there is a problem in the future we will re-evaluate, but as of now we will maintain standard procedures,” Perry said.