City council amends law on bar nights

City Council passed an amendment Monday to allow 18- to 21-year-olds to enter Evanston bars after midnight for fundraising events.

The amendment also included a clause proposed by Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) that would ban bars from holding fundraisers for one year if they received three infractions of underage drinking at any time, even if not at a fundraiser.

“It is time for the licensees to take responsibility for underage drinking in their establishments,” Rainey said.

Scott Glazier, a member of the Dance Marathon executive board at Northwestern, said fundraisers that end earlier do not raise as much money as those that last past midnight. At a May 2005 bar night, held between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., a student group raised $500. A bar night held between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m in November raised only $150, he said.

“Northwestern students can’t come at eight o’clock,” he said. “They’re too busy.”

Under the amendment, bars must inform the city two weeks before a bar night, and people under 21 must be clearly marked with wristbands or handstamps.

The amendment restricts the number of bar nights to 40 per year in the city. Aldermen said they chose that number because NU groups have never held more than 35 bar nights in a year, and the extra allotment allows for non-NU groups to hold events as well.

“I don’t think the cap will at all affect student programming,” said Associated Student Government Executive Vice President Jay Schumacher. “The number (of bar nights) has always been below 40.”

Evanston resident Frances Seidman said during citizen comment that there should be no underage bar nights.

“Why the heck do they have to sit in bars and drink?” she said.

Aldermen passed the ban in October preventing people under 21 from entering or staying at Evanston bars after midnight.

The ordinance concerns only bars with class B1 liquor licenses – Prairie Moon, 1502 Sherman Ave.; The Keg of Evanston, 810 Grove St.; Tommy Nevin’s Pub & Restaurant, 1450 Sherman Ave.; Bill’s Blues, 1029 Davis St.; and 1800 Club, 1800 Sherman Ave.

Aldermen also discussed approving construction of two new Mather LifeWays senior citizen facilities. No decision was reached; discussion will continue at the next council meeting.

Evanston residents also have lobbied against the development because new construction would demolish The Georgian, 422 Davis St., a nearly century-old former hotel many Evanston residents said should be declared a city landmark.

Opponents of the development cited various violations the proposed construction would have on current zoning policies.

Evanston resident David Reynolds also argued that the development would be too large.

“Everything Mather wants to do could be achieved at a lesser scale,” he said.

Mather LifeWays, a non-profit organization aimed at improving life for senior citizens, will create 245 independent living residences, 24 assisted living residences and 40 long-term care residences at Davis and Hinman streets.

Aldermen also voted to confirm the appointment of Michael Sutton and Anthony Fox to the Zoning Board of Appeals, as another member of the board resigned Monday.

The council in December rejected the appointment of Ronald Nayler, NU’s director of facilities management. Opponents of the appointment said Nayler’s affiliation with NU would create a conflict of interest.

Reach Lensay Abadula at

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