By Dawn Hasbrouck, FOX 32 News at 9 Anchor
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – You may not have even noticed it was gone, but Happy Hour is making a comeback.
Happy Hour has been illegal in Illinois since 1989. But that’s about to change.
“We were just at another bar and we were kidding the guy, ‘is it almost Happy Hour,’ and he said we don’t do Happy Hour,” said Mike Rhynerm, bar patron from Tucson.
Happy Hour was made illegal to prevent patrons from driving home drunk.
“That’s still your own responsibility, and the bars responsibility not to overserve. Just because the beer is less expensive, doesn’t mean you can get intoxicated. It means you can save some money and get together with your friends,” said bar patron Christopher Golden.
But bars and taverns are about to get their Happy Hour back, and they seem happy.
“It’s certainly a business friendly move in a cash strapped state like we are. Anything business friendly is a plus,” said bartender Jeff Magill.
Magill has been the bartender at Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern for 34 years. To him, Happy Hour is as important socially as it is financially.
“Somehow they communicate doing this all day long, and they’ve lost the third places in their lives. Happy hour to some extent achieved that for people,” Magill said. “It gave them a chance to stop and be together face to face for a time.”
If the governor signs the bill passed by the House and Senate this past weekend, Illinois restaurants and bars can start serving drink specials during certain hours of the day once again.
Happy Hour is part of a larger bill known as the Culinary and Hospitality Modernization Act. As part of the new legislation, restaurants and bars would have to have alcohol servers go through special training to get their Happy Hours back.