Cicero plans to ban after-midnight liquor sales at bars, restaurants and stores

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
West suburb plans to ban after-midnight liquor sales at bars, stores
Cicero, Illinois is planning to ban after-midnight liquor sales at bars, restaurants and stores starting Jan. 1.

CICERO, Ill. (WLS) -- After-midnight shots, cocktails and even liquor store purchases are set to become a thing of the past in west suburban Cicero, and it's not sitting well with bar and restaurant owners.

"It's cutting us down by three hours, and unfortunately that's when we have the most traffic. People like to sit down, eat, enjoy a beer and relax," said Langostina's owner Laura Arango.

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But Cicero's leaders say what's happening inside bars and restaurants into the wee hours of the morning is spilling into the streets, straining police and disrupting the community.

"Over the last, maybe eight months, we've noticed an increase in problems," said Cicero spokesperson Ray Hanania. "Fighting, violence, noise, damage."

The solution to what leaders say is alcohol-induced chaos is written in this new town ordinance, passed Tuesday morning, banning the sale of any liquor after midnight, effective Jan. 1.

Lucy Valdez co-owns two bar/restaurants, Hacienda Calavera and Luxor, that she says will be stunted.

"By denying all of these alcohol sales, by reducing that, it's going to affect us drastically," Valdez said.

Currently, bars and certain restaurants can serve liquor until 3 a.m. on weekends. One of Valdez's bars doesn't even open until 9 p.m.

Valdez said they are talking about tens of thousands of dollars.

"I would feel like we would get to the point where we would need to close our business, because you can't run a bar from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.," Valdez said.

"It's going to affect a lot of jobs in Cicero. That's the part they're not thinking about," Arango said.

Still, leaders believe limiting liquor sales is a way to calm increasing violence.

"We have to have one law that applies so everybody, so really it's a small group of people hurting all the businesses," Hanania said.

Bar and liquor store owners are hoping to rally together to make changes to this ordinance before it takes effect in January, when new licenses are issued.

A spokesperson for the town says Cicero's president has said he is willing to meet with businesspeople and work through possible solutions.