Outdoor liquor sales OK’d after mending fences

By on July 15, 2011

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—By dropping the word “consumption” from the village of Elburn’’s new outdoor liquor sales ordinance, Knuckleheads will be in compliance with the new law. The ordinance was passed at a special Village Board meeting Monday after more discussion on an issue that has had trustees struggling with verbage and intent.

“I’m happy about that,” Knuckleheads owner Dan Brizek said. “I didn’t feel it was correct or fair to put those same codes on my business that’s been established. It would have cost me money.”

The decision to create the new ordinance—a Class O liquor license to regulate outdoor retail liquor sales—was first brought up when Kevin Schmidt, owner of Schmidt’s Towne Pub, asked what he needed to do to build an outdoor beer garden as an extension of his downtown business.

Village Administrator Erin Willrett drew up an ordinance using those of Geneva and St. Charles as a guide. One of the issues that had trustees at odds was the requirement to put up a fence around the area where patrons would consume alcohol. They were concerned the new rules would impact Knuckleheads Tavern, which has been an Elburn fixture since 1947, and has an unfenced area adjacent to the building where patrons can sit outdoors with their purchases.
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“I don’t think you (Brizek) should have to change what you’re doing,” Trustee Ethan Hastert said. “I don’t think what we do now should change that fact.”

It was noted that there never has been a problem with the outdoor seating at Knuckleheads, which is on private property. A suggestion to grandfather in Knuckleheads, or waive the business from any new ordinance requirements, was shot down by Village Attorney Bob Britz. Willrett suggested that the board could pass the ordinance and essentially look the other way by not enforcing it.

Hastert said since Knuckleheads doesn’t serve or sell alcohol outdoors, by striking the word “consumption” from the ordinance, it wouldn’t impact the business and would keep Knuckleheads in compliance with the new ordinance.