Downtown Bars Closing Early?

Several councilmen are considering an ordinance that would force downtown Naperville bars to close earlier.

“What we’re trying to do is find a balance between keeping the downtown night scene lively but keeping the drinking as under control as possible,” said Councilman Joe McElroy.

The idea comes after numerous fights, and the recent fatal accident where an intoxicated motorist drove into Quarry Lake.

Typically the bars are open until 1a.m. on weeknights and 2 a.m. weekends, council members are hoping an earlier last call time will cut down on the violence.

“Most of the problems we have come from people who don’t live in Naperville, if we close down an hour or two earlier I think we will have less people to come from out of town in the first place,” said McElory.

However, other members of the council feel like closing early is just a temporary fix.

“Some councilmen think that closing early is going to help. I think that’s really a Band-Aid approach that’s not going to solve the problem of over serving. The problem is in the enforcement,” said councilman Doug Krause.

Krause feels that bar management and the liquor commission needs to take more control.

“It’s a privilege to have a liquor license, not a right and if they tow that line they need to be closed for a period of time or fined. And no one is telling them they need to be accountable for their actions and when no one is accountable guess what they will do- sell as much as they want when they want and if no one gets caught they will keep doing it,” said Krause.

Police presence was increased following the 2012 stabbing at Frankie’s Blue Room, where local teacher Sean Wilde was killed. The liquor commission recently released a guidebook covering security, age verification and intoxication.

Area residents have mixed feelings about the possible ordinance.

Council plans to discuss closing the bars earlier as well as how to cut down on the late night violence at their August meeting.

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