Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Illinois Restaurant Association, happy hour is now legal in Illinois for the first time since 1989. Back then a local watering hole would have maybe 25 cent beers from 4:00 until closing, so the after-work crowd would arrive and stay many times too long. The state legislature determined that the reduced cost drinks were resulting in too many new DUI arrests, so “happy hour” was made illegal in this state
The legislature has developed a new approach to happy hour in the new bill just passed, that became effective when the governor recently signed it on July 15, 2015. It allows drink discounts for up to four hours per day, for a total of 15 hours each week, per establishment. These specials must be promoted seven days in advance, so you now have a good reason to visit the web page of your favorite restaurant or bar to watch for these specials.
The establishment can not serve more than two drinks to any one customer at a time. All alcohol servers and those checking ID’s for alcohol service will be required to successfully complete a state course to help them identify persons who have had too much to drink. Those courses must be completed by 2016, 2017, or 2018, dependant upon which county the liquor establishment is at.
For more information check the Illinois Liquor Control Commission publication at: https://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/All%20documents%20site%20wide/News/HappyHourLaw.pdf
As a DUI lawyer, I’ve realized that any police force can put any bar out of business by focusing their attention to that particular location. If this new happy hour plan is going to work, we will all need to be careful and drink responsibly. A few can ruin this for the rest.


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