Finding open bar packages for New Year's Eve is going to be more difficult this season, according to DNAinfo. After last year's festivities, city officials hit 81 local bars and restaurants with violations of the 1989 "Happy Hour Law" few apparently were familiar with and more are confused by. Among the bars and restaurants that the city went after were The Anthem, Debonair Social Club, RM Champagne, Hub 51, Girl and the Goat and Frontier.
The Illinois Happy Hour Law states that an open bar is only allowed for private events. Frontier successfully argued in court its event was, in fact, a private one.
But most found in violation had to pay fines of up to $5,000 or risk losing their licenses, which some in the industry feel is equivalent to political strong-arming for financial gain.
Those businesses looking to work around the law are attempting to gain separate licensing that allows open-bar packages, while others are putting a limit on booze in their meal-and-drink packages to avoid further trouble. The worry most have is that, without an open bar option, potential revenue will be down far more this year than in years past.