Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Police cite bars serving minors

Five local businesses and 15 minors were cited Thursday night for ordinance violations during an alcohol compliance check, police said.

Police stopped at 19 liquor retailers and bars in the “downtown core area” during the check, said Cmdr. Joe Bellino of Evanston Police Department.

During the assessment, police employed an underage volunteer to enter establishments and try to buy alcohol without identification. They also carded drinkers who already were in some establishments, Bellino said.

Patrons at Prairie Moon, 1502 Sherman Ave., received the most citations.

Nine Prairie Moon patrons were cited for possession of fraudulent IDs, two were cited for entering a liquor establishment as minors and four were cited for possessing alcohol as minors, Bellino said.

Two employees there also were cited for serving alcohol to minors, Bellino said.

But Prairie Moon owner Rob Strom said what happened Thursday night was “not a regular occurrence.”

“We train our doormen diligently, and we send them through a training program at the police department,” Strom said, referring to a program that helps liquor establishment employees recognize fake IDs. “Essentially, this was a situation in which we made a mistake.”

People who were cited could face fines of up to $200, Bellino said. Individual servers or doormen and underage drinkers, not businesses, are responsible for the possible fines.

In the spring the Evanston City Council approved a measure to hike fines for possession of fake IDs from $75 to $200. Additionally, using a fake ID could result in a one-year driver’s license revocation, Bellino said.

Bar Louie, 1520 Sherman Ave., and Bill’s Blues, 1029 Davis St., both received two citations each for serving alcohol to minors — one citation for the doorman who allowed the minors inside and one for the bartender who served them.

“I’ve been in this business for 30 years and this is the first time this has happened to me,” Bills Blue’s owner Bill Gilmore said, adding that he fired the doorman who allowed the underage person into the bar.

Bluestone, 1932 Central St., and Dominick’s, 1910 Dempster St., both received one citation each for selling alcohol to a minor.

Chili’s Grill & Bar, 1765 Maple Ave., and Merle’s, 1727 Benson Ave., were supposed to be checked, but the two businesses had closed by the time police arrived there, Bellino said.

EPD conducts random checks of local liquor retailers and bars by carding patrons, but does not always employ underage volunteers, Bellino said.

“The use of underage decoys is not a regular thing,” he said.

The department first used an underage assistant to test liquor establishments in late April. In that operation, EPD cited bartenders at three of 12 liquor establishments they tested.

The bars cited last year were: Prairie Moon; The Keg of Evanston, 810 Grove St.; and Bar Louie.

Bellino said the number of citations on Thursday should send a clear message to businesses and potential underage drinkers.

“There are consequences to your actions,” he said. “Be prepared to accept them.”

Reach Alison Knezevich at

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Police cite bars serving minors