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Cheers! Oak Park Ends Alcohol Ban At Restaurants

OAK PARK (WWJ) - For the first time in nearly 60 years, Oak Park restaurants will be able to serve beer and wine by the glass.

On Monday, the City Council voted 3-1 to lift the ban on alcohol sales by the glass in restaurants, at the behest of owners trying to compete with bars and restaurants in neighboring suburbs.

The ruling allows Oak Park businesses to apply for tavern licenses, which have some restrictions. Restaurants would have to stop serving alcohol at midnight, and couldn't be located too close to schools or places of worship. Restaurants would also have to make sure a majority of their business is from food sales, not alcohol sales.

Up to 20 restaurants would be allowed a tavern license and only 10 currently qualify. Tavern licenses don't apply to hard liquor, which is still prohibited for sale in restaurants.

Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan was behind the change, calling it a historic day and a step toward reviving the city's business district.

However, the move isn't sitting well with Oak Park's Orthodox Jewish population, which has long been against the public sale of alcohol by the glass. Opponents say they will gather the necessary signatures to force the issue to a city-wide election, where voters have upheld the ban since 1954.

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