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Evanston Revokes Bar License After Underage Drinking Incidents

UPDATED: 1/30/2011 10 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) -- In Evanston, the mayor has revoked the liquor license of a popular nightclub which has become well-known among teenagers.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who is also the Evanston city liquor commissioner, decided to shut down The Keg, at 810 Grove St. in downtown Evanston, for repeated incidents of underage drinking.

"It is always an extremely difficult decision to revoke a license of a local business, but I have to also consider the health and welfare of the community as a whole," Tisdahl said in announcing her decision. "Serving minors alcohol is a serious matter that cannot be left unaddressed."

Tweets about The Keg have read, "Oh my God, I can't believe we got in," and, "The Keg knows no age."

"It was easy to get in whether you had a real or fake ID," Abby Gardner, a Northwestern University student, tells CBS 2's Vince Gerasole.

But this was not always the case. Evanston Liquor Control Review Board member Richard Peach says he and his wife used to go there.

"They had a wonderful dining room area and a great salad bar; a terrific menu – a really nice place to dine," he said.

Then in 2005, tragedy struck. An Evanston man was shot and killed inside the bar, and the Keg's liquor license was temporarily suspended.

"He was told then that he was on a very short leash," Peach said.

The license was restored, but Peach says problems continued.

"On January 6, the police went in there and busted 17 kids for underage drinking," Peach said.

If the mayor revokes the license, the owner can appeal to the Illinois State Liquor Control Commission.

The Keg's owner, Tom Mignon, and his attorney declined comment Monday.

At Nevin's Pub around the corner, manager Jared Beatty showed a stack of confiscated phony IDs.  He says making carding a priority is the only way to uphold the city's liquor laws.

"We have reputation of being hard on underage drinking and we like to keep it that way," he says. "When you are 21 and you drink, you have a certain level of maturity. When you are 18 and you drink, bad things can happen."

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