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Later hours proposed for restaurant patios

Outdoor patios downtown, in the Gold Coast and in River North could continue to stay open an hour later than spots in other neighborhoods during the week under a proposal put forth by an alderman.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) on Thursday introduced an ordinance to once again extend the outdoor patio hours for the central business district, which is roughly bounded by the lake to the east, Division Street to the north, Roosevelt Road to the south, and LaSalle and Halsted Streets to the west.

The proposed ordinance would allow alcoholic beverages to be served at outdoor patios downtown until midnight every day until Dec. 1.

"There are only a few warm weather months and outdoor patios and rooftop patios are incredibly popular with tourists and visitors to the city,” Reilly said. 

For the past two years, he has proposed this extension and gotten City Council approval to allow patrons of taverns, bars and restaurants to eat and drink outside until midnight. It's been a way to give the hospitality industry additional flexibility and the opportunity to make more revenue during the warm weather months, he said.

Each year, Reilly said he re-introduces the measure as a way to hold those businesses accountable and to review with the police department whether there were any public safety issues.

“So long as they're respectful of neighbors and there are no major neighborhood concerns, we will renew this privilege on an annual basis,” Reilly said.

Currently, licensed venues must not sell or serve such drinks at outdoor patios on Saturdays and Sundays between 12:01 a.m. and the legally established hour of opening and on Sundays through Thursdays between 11 p.m. and when they open the following day.

The proposal heads to the Committee on License and Consumer Protection.

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