Cubs, alderman face off over alcohol sales at Wrigley Plaza

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In a matter of months Wrigley Plaza will be open but Lakeview's alderman is threatening to block their effort to get a liquor permit. (WLS)

In a matter of months Wrigley Plaza will be open but Lakeview's alderman is threatening to block the Cubs' effort to get a liquor permit for the space.

Construction continues on the new Wrigley Plaza, just west of the ballpark along bustling Addison Street. In a matter of months it will be an open-air mecca for shopping, ice skating, concerts and other events.

"Whether you're talking about movies in the park, or a food and wine festival, or farmer's market, these are things the entire community can enjoy," says Cubs spokesperson Julian Green.

The Chicago Cubs want to serve alcohol on the plaza as late as midnight on weekends, and to sell it all 12 months of the year. But Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney is threatening to block their effort to get a liquor permit, saying he fears the plaza could become a giant beer garden, compounding safety concerns in an area already full of revelers.

"It would be unprecedented to have a 4,000 person beer garden where they could be drinking from basically 11 in the morning until midnight, 365 days a year," Ald. Tunney counters.

Cubs fan Kurt Lewandowski agrees.

"I think too much craziness, you know," Lewandowski says. "Maybe if it was off to the side somewhere, but you're right at the corner of Clark and Addison. I don't know if it's the best idea."

Tunney wants alcohol served only on game days and in certain areas of the plaza where only ticketholders can access, with sales cut off in the seventh inning like inside the ballpark.

But the Cubs say Tunney is reneging on ordinances he agreed to which allow the plaza to operate the way the Cubs want.

"I think what's kind of lost in the shuffle is that the plaza is a lot more than that," says Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. "We're trying to do a lot for the neighborhood, for the community."

The team is now accusing the alderman of bowing to pressure from Wrigleyville bar owners.

"We believe that you're protecting a select few bar owners, and that's what this is about, protecting the profits of a few over others," says Green.

Some bar owners, who did not want to go on camera, said they're not opposed to the plaza because of competition. They do, however, question whether the Cubs can properly secure such a public large venue where alcohol is consumed.
Related Topics:
societysportspoliticsChicago Cubsalcoholwrigley fieldChicago - WrigleyvilleChicago - Lakeview
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