DeKalb Corn Fest, Inc. now has its own liquor license, and its own special permit to serve liquor at Corn Fest in the great outdoors. My companion and I saw them about 5:30 p.m.

We had to request to see these documents, because they weren’t posted anywhere: not at the gate to the beer garden, not in the regular serving area nor the VIP area. A nice staff person had to go looking in an office in the hangar used by VIP. All told it took about 10 minutes to get a peek at them, even though Corn Fest was already serving.

The name of the licensed establishment is “Corn Fest” and the address is 1586 Barber Greene Road, which, as I’ve commented and Tweeted before, is the address of the Daily Chronicle.

The Knights of Columbus ran the beer garden for Corn Fest until this year. KC has, you know, an actual bar.

On Monday I’ll submit a Freedom of Information Act for these documents so you don’t have to depend upon my memory for details.

Stay tuned.

Delighted as I am that the City of DeKalb appears to have competent legal counsel at this time, I am also a little dismayed that Mr. Frieders seems to be driving the agenda lately.

This seems to be a pattern with our city manager, and the history leading to the latest attempt at overhauling the city liquor code is a case in point. Mr. Biernacki and our mayor the liquor commissioner allowed the last full-time, appointed attorney to oversee an “overhaul” process that lasted two years and led to the complicated, unenforceable mess that it is now.

The liquor code is in dire need of improvement, and as long as Mr. Frieders’ services to same don’t exceed the budget allowed for it, I won’t complain. But I do want to inform/remind you of this symptom of the administration’s propensity to indulge its favorites at the expense of the rest of us.

Let’s Try This Again

First I said the city clerk issues liquor licenses in DeKalb. Then I said he didn’t. The second appears to be correct BUT that does not mean the city clerk has nothing to do with the license. I visited a DeKalb establishment today and checked out the liquor license while there. Renewed in August 2011, it was signed not just by the mayor but also by the city clerk, Steve Kapitan, and it has the Seal of the City of DeKalb on it.

Apparently, then, there must be some sort of requirement (State of Illinois?) for the city clerk to sign and to cause to be affixed to the document the Seal of the City of DeKalb, whether or not such a requirement appears in Chapter 38 or not.

Hope this clarifies things a bit.

Thanks to Mac McIntyre of DeKalb County Online for capturing video highlights of yesterday’s City of DeKalb news conference — wherein we discover that the new Tapalaluna owners were issued a “conditional” liquor license so they could get state licensing and order supplies in preparation for a Valentine’s Day opening; and that the mayor (aka liquor commissioner) essentially will be asking for city council permission Monday night after the fact, by means of approval of a development agreement.

A. In addition to any and all other requirements set forth in this Chapter, an applicant for a Class A-[Central Business District] license shall be required to submit to the City an Application for Development Agreement, as defined herein, accompanied by a non-refundable Development Application fee of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00). The Development Agreement shall be memorialized in writing and, if approved by the City Council, shall be submitted to the Liquor Commissioner for his review, approval and the issuance of the Class A-CBD liquor license, in the exercise of his discretion as Liquor Commissioner.

Key: IF the development agreement is approved by city council, THEN the license may be approved by the liquor commissioner.

Did you know there was provision for a “conditional” license in Chapter 38 of the Municipal Code that changes the order of the licensing process? Me neither, and I delved fairly deeply into liquor licensing for an earlier post on the subject. In fact, if there is such a thing I need somebody to point me to chapter and verse because I can’t find it.

And that’s just for starters. Read the rest of this entry

[Correction 2/10: It is the liquor commissioner (mayor) who issues liquor licenses, not the city clerk. See this post for more information.]

If your inner entrepreneur is telling you that bar ownership in DeKalb is worthy of some capital, here are a few things you need to know about obtaining a liquor license for your business. (Keep in mind, these tips are no substitute for professional legal counsel.)

Bona fide sale. Bona fide sale shall mean a sale of a liquor business for real value where the sale includes the purchase of fixtures, equipment, good will or the like. Such sale shall not include the liquor license.

Even in buying an existing business, then, you must start from scratch with the liquor license application. Licenses are not transferable.

A significant and potentially time-consuming part of the process is to ensure you are not a crook [insert joke here about limiting competition -- bah-dum-bum!] and that you have the money to prove it. Read the rest of this entry

If you haven’t been following this story, links are provided below. In a nutshell, two bars that served underage drinkers back in January were fined last week, while a third requested and got its hearing rescheduled. Charges were dropped against two other bars whose licensee had been accused of advertising free beer as a St. Patrick’s Day promotion.

Advertising any sort of “happy hour”-type drink special in DeKalb constitutes a violation of the liquor code. Hosting an open bar for a private party does not.

Frankly, I don’t get it. Read the rest of this entry

The March 17 Liquor Charges

The following comes from the April 13 City of DeKalb Notice of Hearing and Charges against O’Leary’s Irish Pub & Grill and its agent, Melvin P. Witmer, Jr. I’ve fixed a tiny typo and emboldened key information.

The hearing shall relate to the following incidents:

1. That the licensee, UNIVERSAL RESTAURANT GROUP, INC. d/b/a O’LEARY’S IRISH PUB & GRILL (hereinafter referred to a “LICENSEE”) was issued Class E liquor license number 09-503 by the City of DeKalb on or about August 31, 2009.

2. Prior to, on or about March 17, 2010, the LICENSEE, its agents and/or employees advertised a special event in which free beer would be served from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in violation of Section 38.30(b)(8) of the DeKalb Municipal Code. Read the rest of this entry

[Update: Added Krystal's info 11:30 a.m.]

The last post contained a prediction that hearings on liquor code violations from last January would be scheduled when NIU’s academic year ended. What do I win? They are scheduled for Thursday, May 13. From the Notice of Hearing and Charges issued by the City of DeKalb’s Legal Department to the City Clerk, April 13:

    Otto’s, 10-LC-007
    Sullivan’s Tavern, 10-LC-006
    O’Leary’s Irish Pub & Grill, 10-LC-008
    Upper Deck Sports Bar & Grill, 10-LC-009
    Krystal’s Pubs & Subs [sic]*, 10-LC-005

Yes, there are two establishments listed in addition to the January trio.

Yes, I have submitted an inquiry for the dispositions of cases 001-004.

Hearings begin 10 a.m. in Room 212 of the Municipal Building.

*Looks like they mean Krystal’s on S. First. Krystal’s and Rammy’s names got combined here?

dancing liquorThe Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) publishes monthly reports online about which liquor licensees have been “stung” for underage drinking violations.

According to ILCC, last January three DeKalb establishments were caught serving alcohol to minors. Krystal’s, Otto’s, and Sullivan’s failed compliance checks made January 18. Read the rest of this entry

Fourth Ward Alderman Brendon Gallagher has been guiding a BYOB license proposal through the city’s legislative process. Here is what he reported at his website about last Tuesday’s Liquor Commission meeting.

One member of the Commission asked the GM of the Haru of Japan sushi restaurant (who was at the meeting for liquor license approval) and I am not kidding on this question, “What ethnicity of waitstaff are your [sic] going to hire?”

This is 2010!!! Is Archie Bunker on this commission? What type of question is that to ask?

The General Manager of Haru of Japan asked a simple “What?” for his response.

Now you would think that the commission member would have taken the hint not to ask this again. But oh no he swung for the fences with “What ethnicity of your waitstaff are you going to hire?”

Wow! I could not believe he asked it a second time.

The GM of Haru of Japan looked shocked. He gave a great answer, “We are going to hire responsible people who want to work and be over 21 if they serve alcohol.”

From Gallagher’s description, it sounds like much of the meeting was a professionalism FAIL.