WBEZ | liquor http://www.wbez.org/tags/liquor Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A shot of history: Ingredients of the Chicago speakeasy http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/shot-history-ingredients-chicago-speakeasy-110616 <p><p>Ask people around the world to play word association with &ldquo;Chicago,&rdquo; and you&rsquo;ll hear a few common responses. Modern architecture and bruising politics have nothing, it seems, on our Prohibition-era gangster reputation.</p><p>&ldquo;You go anywhere and it&rsquo;s Al Capone or Michael Jordan,&rdquo; says Liz Garibay, who runs the website <a href="http://www.talestavernsandtowns.com/" target="_blank">History on Tap</a>. &ldquo;In Chicago we have this love-hate relationship with gangsters. It&rsquo;s not the most pleasant side, but at the same time people love to talk about it.&rdquo;</p><p>To that end, Garibay says the bar owners around town with any connections to that era are happy to play it up. It&rsquo;s good for business.</p><p>Even modern bars are reappropriating that speakeasy vibe. Take <a href="http://theviolethour.com/" target="_blank">The Violet Hour</a>, a favorite spot of the recent University of Chicago alumna who asked our question.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the secrecy is interesting. There&rsquo;s something sort of cheekily illicit about [speakeasies] that I think is cool,&rdquo; says<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/shot-history-ingredients-chicago-speakeasy-110616#elena"> Elena Hadjimichael</a>, who was part of a student team that<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/history-and-mystery-behind-chicago%E2%80%99s-produce-market-107918" target="_blank"> tackled a Curious City question about Chicago&#39;s wholesale produce markets</a>. Her question for Curious City gets at what made the original original speakeasies successful:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>What sorts of buildings housed speakeasy bars in Chicago during the Prohibition era? What made these buildings particularly well suited for speakeasies?</em></p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to determine Chicago&rsquo;s ideal speakeasy building, since speakeasies came in almost as many varieties as there were speakeasies. (How many is that? It&rsquo;s hard to confirm an exact number, <a href="http://www.umich.edu/~eng217/student_projects/nkazmers/prohibition1.html" target="_blank">but probably thousands</a> &mdash; more than there are bars in the city today.) Illegal gatherings to drink in the back of a warehouse, a candy store or a backyard were all technically speakeasies. Still, a few common elements made it easy to get away with skirting this very unpopular law.</p><p>Here are a few things that most &mdash; if not all &mdash; Chicago speakeasies needed.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>1. Secrecy</strong></span></p><p>Speakeasies were common, but they still had to operate in the shadows, in the legal and sometimes literal sense. &ldquo;It was probably in a place where you could make a little noise and get away with it,&rdquo; says Craig Alton, who leads Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.gangstertour.com/" target="_blank">&quot;Untouchables&quot; gangster tour</a>. Some places boarded up their windows, or moved their saloons to back alleys. Gioco, an Italian restaurant in the South Loop, still has the back room where illegal booze was served to guests including Al Capone. The building, 1312 S. Wabash Ave., was a cold storage facility at the time. According to Alton, this made it easy to keep the beer cool. Thick vault doors prevented sound from escaping and tipping off authorities.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>2. A cover or front</strong></span></p><p>Sometimes being invisible from the street wasn&rsquo;t enough. To keep up appearances, a lot of speakeasies had legitimate businesses up front. Twin Anchors in Lincoln Park was across the street from a school (now the LaSalle Language Academy), so the adjacent building housed a school supplies store, as well as a shop selling soda and candy. The two buildings were eventually joined, and Mrs. Keefer&rsquo;s Schoolbook Store became Twin Anchor&rsquo;s kitchen. But between schoolbooks and Tante Lee&rsquo;s Soft Drinks (named after the tavern&rsquo;s original owner, Lee Tante), it was maybe the last place you&rsquo;d think to look for booze. &ldquo;Other than maybe putting in a church or a convent or something,&rdquo; says Paul Tuzi, one of Twin Anchor&rsquo;s owners, &ldquo;they probably couldn&rsquo;t have come up with anything more benign to hide the operation.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/alibi.jpg" style="height: 429px; width: 620px;" title="Bert Kelly’s Stables, 431 N. Rush St., was a famous jazz club and speakeasy. (Photo courtesy University of Chicago archives)" /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>3. Access</strong></span></p><p>While you didn&rsquo;t want law enforcement to find its way to your speakeasy, you needed it to be accessible for patrons and the back-of-house help that would load in your illegal alcohol. Subterranean networks helped &mdash; sewers or access lanes under the street &mdash; and in older parts of Chicago these were common. <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/uptown-greenmilljazz-bar-history-owner-bartender-musicians/Content?oid=12784766" target="_blank">The Green Mill benefitted from tunnels</a> connecting the bar to neighboring establishments of their Uptown block. Likewise in Pilsen (a neighborhood partially spared by the Great Chicago Fire), speakeasies used basement connections to a subterranean network of access tunnels hidden beneath the city&rsquo;s original street grid. According to Craig Alton, one former funeral home on the 700 block of West 18th Street hosted wakes, parties and other get-togethers downstairs after their services, serving alcohol they ran through the underground tunnels. We couldn&rsquo;t verify that particular story, but it&rsquo;s true that in older neighborhoods like Pilsen, Chicago at one point raised sidewalks off the city&rsquo;s swampy foundations to make space for sewers and other infrastructure that could have been useful for illicit transport.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/drawings-at-gioco.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gioco.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Top: Drawings on the wall at Gioco, an Italian restaurant in Chicago's west loop. Bottom: The back room at Gioco. The space hosted a speakeasy during prohibition, using its thick safe doors to shield the windowless back room from foot traffic on Wabash Avenue. The building was a cold storage facility during that time, so it was easy to keep the beer cool. (Photo by Chris Bentley)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><strong style="font-size: 22px;">4. Connections</strong></div></div><p>Running a successful speakeasy was impossible without connections. Bar owners relied on a network of people to transport alcohol, pay off cops and bounce unruly patrons, among other things. That often involved the mob, but it didn&rsquo;t have to. As long as you were somewhat discreet and had a person who brought in regular shipments of alcohol, you could run a speakeasy. <a href="http://www.twinanchorsribs.com/" target="_blank">Twin Anchors</a> was so named because the owner during Prohibition, Captain Herb Eldean, was a harbor master at Chicago&rsquo;s Monroe Harbor. &ldquo;He had more access than most people would have to the possibility of acquiring liquor coming down from Canada into the port here,&rdquo; says co-owner Paul Tuzi.</p><p>That Great Lakes connection was critical to sustaining under-the-table taverns all over the city, according to <a href="http://www.talestavernsandtowns.com/" target="_blank">History on Tap</a>&rsquo;s Liz Garibay. &ldquo;Location, location, location. It&rsquo;s the whole reason Chicago is even here,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;The fact that we had access to a couple of waterways, and we&rsquo;re so close to Canada, was helpful.&rdquo;</p><p>Some tavern owners didn&rsquo;t have to look across the border for a reliable source of alcohol. Schaller&rsquo;s Pump in Bridgeport is considered by many to be the oldest bar in Chicago still serving drinks. Now it&rsquo;s flanked by parking lots and gravel, but during the early 20th century its neighbor was the South Side Brewing Company. Prohibition forced the brewery to boost production of low-alcohol &ldquo;near beer,&rdquo; but barrels of its more potent products found their way into Schaller&rsquo;s Pump.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/236180239/A-Mixologist-s-Guide-to-a-Chicago-Speakeasy" target="_blank">(Check out our mixologist&#39;s guide to a Chicago speakeasy).</a></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>5. Emergency precautions</strong></span></p><p>Even if you had a good cover and had paid off the right people, it didn&rsquo;t hurt to have a backup plan. At Schaller&rsquo;s Pump, there&rsquo;s still a peephole looking south from the bar area. That came in handy when patrons and barkeepers needed to keep an eye out for unwelcome visitors. Twin Anchors had a half-size door installed in the back of the saloon so drinkers could escape in a hurry, but Tuzi says he has no evidence the bar was ever raided. (Though he did use it to escape inclement weather outside when he was still living in the building above the bar.)</p><p>While secrecy and good connections were probably the most critical parts of any successful Chicago speakeasy, some bar owners added their own innovations. Simon&rsquo;s in Andersonville has a bank teller&rsquo;s window tucked under the stairs. &ldquo;In that day if you took your check to the hardware store or the butcher shop or the shoemaker,&rdquo; says owner Scott Martin, those people would cash your check for you, but would take a percentage of your check for the risk of cashing it, much like a currency exchange does today.&rdquo; So Swedish immigrant and World War I veteran Simon Lundberg installed a bullet-proof bank teller&rsquo;s window (in what today is storage space), offering to cash checks free of charge. He also advertised free sandwiches on Fridays. &ldquo;So you would get a free belly full of food and get all of your hard-earned money, which you&rsquo;d oblige by gettin&rsquo; a beer and a whisky.&rdquo; Of course, it rarely stopped at just one drink.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/twin anchors.jpg" title="Paul Tuzi, one of the owners of Lincoln Park's Twin Anchors Restaurant &amp; Tavern, shows off a half-size door at the back of the bar, which he says was installed during prohibition to enable quick escapes. (Photo by Chris Bentley)" /></div><p>That entrepreneurial spirit seems to fit with Simon&rsquo;s history. The bar began when Lundberg noticed the patrons of his cafe spiking their drinks with whisky, so once he&rsquo;d made enough money from legitimate business, the Swedish immigrant bought the building next door and turned its basement into the NN Club &mdash; the &ldquo;No Name&rdquo; Club or maybe the &ldquo;No Norwegians&rdquo; Club, jokes current owner Scott Martin. A spare and cramped basement now used to store liquor for Simon&rsquo;s bar, the N.N. Club still has its original hand-painted sign. Decorative Swedish wall painting known as rosemaling peeks out from behind racks of liquor bottles.</p><p>After prohibition, Lundberg brought his drinking club upstairs. Simon&rsquo;s Tavern still has its original 1933 mahogany bar, and the bank teller door lined with 12-gauge steel and three panes of bullet-proof glass. Now people cash their checks elsewhere, of course, but they still oblige themselves a beer and whisky. Or several.</p><p>&ldquo;My mother and her sisters used to have come every other Friday night to get my grandfather out of here,&rdquo; says Martin.</p><p>A faithful clientele creates a powerful profit motive &mdash; one worth skirting the law and going through all that trouble for.</p><p>So to answer Elena Hadjimichael&rsquo;s question about what buildings housed speakeasies, and what made them well-suited to be speakeasies, let&rsquo;s recap: Speakeasies need secrecy or privacy; they often used a cover or front to keep up appearances; and they needed access to shipments of alcohol.<a name="elena"></a></p><p>It&rsquo;s not the building itself that made a successful speakeasy, so much as its management and business savvy. And that much about running a bar hasn&rsquo;t changed &mdash; even if modern speakeasies, like the ones that inspired Elena&rsquo;s question, don&rsquo;t have to worry about hiding the booze.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/elena%20photo.jpg" style="height: 289px; width: 190px; float: left;" title="" /><span style="font-size:22px;">We&rsquo;ve got an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p>Our question about speakeasies comes from someone who has only been able to legally drink for two years. Elena Hadjimichael graduated in early June from the University of Chicago, where she majored in international studies. Now she&rsquo;s off to New York University, where she&rsquo;ll study law. But before she skipped town, Elena wanted to learn about the history of Chicago&rsquo;s prohibition-era watering holes.</p><p>&ldquo;One of my favorite bars in Chicago is The Violet Hour, which is kind of in the speakeasy style,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;So I was interested in what more original speakeasies might have been like in Chicago.&rdquo; Another &ldquo;modern speakeasy&rdquo; that comes to mind, she says, is <a href="http://nymag.com/listings/bar/angels_share/" target="_blank">Angel&rsquo;s Share</a> in New York&rsquo;s East Village. It&rsquo;s an exclusive whisky bar cached behind a Japanese restaurant.</p><p>Elena grew up in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. She spent three years in Paris before coming to Chicago. She also happens to be a member of the University of Chicago team that tackled a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/history-and-mystery-behind-chicago%E2%80%99s-produce-market-107918" target="_blank">Curious City question about Chicago&rsquo;s wholesale produce markets</a>.</p><p><em>Chris Bentley is a reporter for <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City</a> and a <a href="http://cabentley.com/" target="_blank">freelance journalist</a>. Follow him at cabentley.com and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/236180239/A-Mixologist-s-Guide-to-a-Chicago-Speakeasy" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/speakeasy%20graphic%204.jpg" style="height: 906px; width: 620px;" title="" /></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/shot-history-ingredients-chicago-speakeasy-110616 Northwestern trauma surgeon finds link between booze and bullets http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-trauma-surgeon-finds-link-between-booze-and-bullets-108728 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Liquor Store.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Dr. Marie Crandall was at UCLA when riots broke out in Los Angeles in the early &lsquo;90s. In the aftermath, activists there zeroed in on liquor stores, identifying them as as hotspots for violence. Many sought to have licenses revoked&mdash;but store owners rebuffed and said there was no data to support the claims. And they were right.</p><p>While the discussion about a potential link between booze and bullets has persisted over the last 20-plus years, the data dam remained dry.</p><p>So Crandall, now an associate professor of surgery at Northwestern&rsquo;s Feinberg School of Medicine, decided to crunch Chicago&rsquo;s numbers. She and her research partners used data from the Illinois State Trauma Registry from 1999 - 2009 to geocode all the gunshot wounds that presented to trauma centers in Chicago during that period. They cross referenced the data with the locations of liquor licenses held in the area.</p><p>&ldquo;I was not surprised that there was an association in our again, already distressed communities. I was surprised at the strength of the association in a few of these areas,&rdquo; Crandall said.</p><p>The study found that in some South and West Side neighborhoods, a person is up to 500 times more likely to get shot hanging out by a place with a liquor license than they are standing three blocks away.</p><p>That was not the case in more affluent areas of the city. And Crandall said she thought the geographic trend reflected other issues facing Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;If you looked at the maps, you would see that the trauma deserts, and these neighborhoods that have the association with liquor licenses and food deserts and places where we&rsquo;re closing elementary schools&mdash;all seem to overlap,&rdquo; she explained.</p><p>Crandall said she hopes that when the study is published in a couple of months, it will inform discussions at the city level about potential to engage the business community and public health officials about this association and potential solutions.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 20:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-trauma-surgeon-finds-link-between-booze-and-bullets-108728 Morning Shift: USDA suggests changes to SNAP program http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-12/morning-shift-usda-suggests-changes-snap-program <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Veg - Flickr - danicuki.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ producer Monica Eng explains how the USDA aims to rehabilitate the SNAP program. And, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas is using his experience here to try to reform troubled schools in other large cities. What solutions would he suggest for CPS now?</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-63/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-63.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-63" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: USDA suggests changes to SNAP program" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 08:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-12/morning-shift-usda-suggests-changes-snap-program The many epiphanies I didn't have from giving up drinking for Lent http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/many-epiphanies-i-didnt-have-giving-drinking-lent-106404 <p><p>In February <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/what-are-you-giving-lent-105499">I made the bold proclamation</a> that I&#39;d give up drinking for Lent. I&#39;m proud to say that aside from a few shots of Nyquil from when I wasn&#39;t feeling well, I made it through the entire season. I was fairly certain I&#39;d learn a few things about my relationship with alcohol and my own body during this time and I did. In that I didn&#39;t.</p><p>1. Giving up drinking was easier than I expected. Just saying &quot;I gave up drinking for Lent&quot; out loud helped establish what I was doing and nobody questioned it in social settings. I confirmed that I can go out with friends and have a good time drinking Diet Coke and not wine. It was a lot cheaper, too.<br /><br />2. But it also never got any easier over the long haul. I figured the longer I went without liquor the less I would miss it, but that was not the case. On Friday nights, especially, at the end of a long week, I badly missed unwinding with my husband in the kitchen over some wine. Even in the last days of Lent I had to give myself pep talks, saying what a shame it would be to come that far just to blow it.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4508416577_56d47321bf.jpg" style="float: left; height: 205px; width: 300px;" title="Don't try to take this girl's drink away. (Courtesy of the author)" />3. It did not make me feel substantially better. This was a big surprise. I figured that without liquor I would hop out of bed in the morning fresh as a daisy, and enjoy a carefree workout unburdened by the slightest tinge of toxins in my system. I figured I&#39;d look and feel as glowy and fit as, say, J.Lo, or another one of those celebs who is saintly and abstains. No go. Getting up in the morning, working out and dragging your body around in general is no easier when you&#39;re a teetotaler.<br /><br />4. Going dry is a terrible diet. I also gave up weighing myself for Lent and figured that by cutting out booze I&#39;d lose at least give pounds. Um, no. I lost zero pounds. In fact, I may have gained a few. Part of this, I admit, was due in part to abstinence-induced eating, the mentality that I could eat more because I was pregnant (I mean abstinent). But, strangely, it felt kind of the same.</p><p>5. My tolerance went down. (I was buzzed off my first Easter mimosa at 9 a.m., which I had before I went to my workout class.) But not <em>too </em>down. I had a few more mimosas during the day, just to keep me going, and while I didn&#39;t feel great in the car on the way to brunch, we were also stuck in traffic on Peterson, which would make anyone nauseous. I powered through the day though thanks to some more mimosas.</p><p>I&#39;m a little disappointed that giving up alcohol didn&#39;t make that much of an impact on my life, but I suppose the upside is that I learned that I don&#39;t typically drink enough that it <em>would </em>make a big difference in my life when alcohol is gone. Which is good, because, rather stupidly, I envisioned a reality where my physical state would be <em>so </em>improved by giving up liquor that I&#39;d have to contemplate giving it up for good. So thank god that didn&#39;t happen. Now I&#39;m back on the scale and on the sauce. Cheers.</p><p><em>What did you give up for Lent, and how well did you stick to that? Tell me in the comments or <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Mon, 01 Apr 2013 09:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/many-epiphanies-i-didnt-have-giving-drinking-lent-106404 Springfield is now the battleground in Chicago’s politics of booze http://www.wbez.org/news/springfield-now-battleground-chicago%E2%80%99s-politics-booze-106167 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4755330401_82a15751fe_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Eaid Masud manages Skip&rsquo;s Food &amp; Liquor on 55th and Damen. On a recent weekday morning, he&rsquo;s at the register ringing up meats, canned food and snacks. Behind him, the wide shelves brim with a rainbow of alcohol &mdash; everything from the cheap stuff to the high end.</p><p dir="ltr">This store could be in a kind of jeopardy. On Wednesday the executive committee in the Illinois House approved a bill that would allow Chicago to close liquor stores for up to 30 days when they&rsquo;re the stage for criminal activity or they threaten &ldquo;the welfare of the community.&rdquo; Current law allows the city to close such establishments for just seven days.</p><p dir="ltr">Support from the full House is still needed.</p><p dir="ltr">Not that Masud is worried. He said Skip&rsquo;s is a family-owned business that&rsquo;s a part of the West Englewood community. But Masud is aware liquor stores can sometimes attract crime.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There should definitely be more police presence in the areas where they think there&rsquo;s activity like that going on,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, neighbors have complained about the store and, as Masud acknowledges, Skip&rsquo;s deals with people who loiter or illegally sell loose cigarettes in the parking lot. He said if he sees drug dealing, he calls the police.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We act accordingly and call authorities but sometimes like during the summers there&rsquo;s a lot of teenagers and maybe fighting outside or along the streets,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s out of our control. It&rsquo;s nothing we allow; it just happens.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">State Rep. Esther Golar, a Democrat, introduced the bill. She said she&rsquo;s fed up with drug dealing and shootings at liquor stores. Her district is in Chicago&rsquo;s Englewood neighborhood, which she dubs a liquor corridor with up to 60 such establishments.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;These liquor licensees, which are the owners, they have knowledge of this,&rdquo; Golar said. &ldquo;Many times they&rsquo;re either too scared, they do not care or many times they&rsquo;re complicit in allowing these illegal activities to occur.</p><p dir="ltr">Golar&rsquo;s bill would allow the liquor commissioner to shutter an errant store for 30 days &mdash; up from the current seven days. An investigation and a hearing would take place during that time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We wouldn&rsquo;t be doing anything that&rsquo;s not in the law right now,&rdquo; Golar said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just that we need more time. Rather than having a store close down for seven days, they reopen up with the same issues. I&rsquo;ve seen this over and over again. And what does it do for the community? The negative impact these stores have.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/muslim-coalition-targets-arab-run-stores-food-deserts">problems and politics surrounding liquor stores</a> problems aren&rsquo;t limited to Englewood. Booze is a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet">quality of life issue</a> in many communities. In some, residents feel store owners show them too little respect and, in others, they&rsquo;ve effectively removed malt liquor or otherwise dictated what alcohol a store can sell. In other areas, voters approved measures that turned entire precincts dry. After a long fight, Bronzeville got <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/barcc/chicago-bronzeville-residents-hope-liquor-ban-improves-quality-life">one store</a> shut down.</p><p dir="ltr">The East Village Association is happy with a moratorium on packaged liquor stores from Division Street to Augusta Boulevard. The area had been populated by Latino immigrants. A wave of gentrification has washed over the community and new residents say they want to eliminate liquor-store vagrancy and crimes.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Drunks hanging out on the streets led to crime,&rdquo; said Neal McKnight, president of the association and a supporter of Golar&rsquo;s bill.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Anything that gives sort of a little bit of teeth to the liquor commissioner in dealing with difficult businesses is good for me,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;When they [liquor stores] go bad it&rsquo;s really difficult to get them to close ... fighting tooth and nail with the businesses.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The East Village group has voted to lift a liquor-ban moratorium, subject to approval by the liquor commissioner, that would allow a convenience store to only sell beer and wine. No malt liquor, Wild Irish Rose or single bottle sales unless it&rsquo;s a craft beer.</p><p dir="ltr">Originally, the group wanted to ban mass-market beers such as Budweiser but scaled back. McKnight said the board recently decided such a limitation would be overlimiting.</p><p dir="ltr">Last year Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the city would be aggressive in collecting data on problem businesses. Convenience stores and liquor stores are placed on the monthly flagged business list and subject to increased inspections by all city departments. Since April 2012, the city has taken disciplinary action on 89 liquor establishments and revoked 19 licenses.</p><p dir="ltr">A spokeswoman for Emanuel says Golar&rsquo;s bill would complement the city&rsquo;s efforts, as it would target liquor stores that have been on a list of trouble building.</p><p dir="ltr">However, the caveats and qualifications don&rsquo;t satisfy Jerry Rosen of the Beverage Retailers Alliance of Illinois.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the most horrible bill I ever heard,&rdquo; Rosen said, adding that problem liquor stores should be the province for police.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It totally flies in the face of a retailer&rsquo;s rights,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re just taking away any rights he may have. When you shut somebody down because somebody made a complaint or an accusation of a criminal activity, you&rsquo;re in essence almost putting them out of business.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Illinois has a 30-day credit law for distributors of wine and spirits to purchase those beverages. Rosen says this new liquor law could end up putting someone out of business permanently, and an army of lawyers is fighting the bill.</p><p dir="ltr">Rosen&rsquo;s prediction: Golar&rsquo;s measure will be ruled unconstitutional and doesn&rsquo;t stand a chance.</p><p>Still, with the current state of Chicago booze politics, Rosen said he&rsquo;s ready to testify against the bill, if need be.</p></p> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/springfield-now-battleground-chicago%E2%80%99s-politics-booze-106167 Chicago goes dry http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/chicago-goes-dry-104886 <p><p>The year was 1920. At midnight, as the calendar clicked over onto January 17, Prohibition became the law of the land. Chicago&rsquo;s reaction was a big yawn.</p><p>Okay, we all know about Chicago in the Roaring Twenties. We know that the city became the bootlegging capital of America. We&rsquo;ve seen the gangster movies.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-17--NY%20Trib-1.jpg" title="('New York Tribune'-January 20, 1920)" /></div><p>But that was all in the future on that January evening in 1920. The crowds at the taverns were no larger than on a typical Friday. When the clock struck 12, the patrons downed their drinks and left, the bartender locked up . . . and that was that.</p><p>The Prohibition law said that the manufacture, sale, or distribution of intoxicating beverages was illegal. However, people were allowed to have booze and beer in their own homes for their own use. They could keep all the beverage they wanted, as long as they bought it before January 17.</p><p>So Chicagoans began stocking up. Liquor stores had raised prices, but the public kept buying. In the final days, autos and trucks were also in demand&ndash;for some people, the first time they drove a car was the day they hauled their liquor home.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-17--NY%20Trib-2.jpg" title="('New York Tribune'-January 20, 1920)" /></div><p>Major A.T. Dalrymple was the local head of Prohibition enforcement. He announced that people would have ten days to report the exact quantities of beverage they held in their homes. That was a matter of law. There should be no fear that government agents would raid a private residence.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Dalrymple said his men were ready to deal with any businesses that tried to evade the law. Enforcement would be strict. The major had vaults ready for storage of illegal beverage seized in raids. If the vaults weren&rsquo;t large enough, more would be built.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-17--Dalrymple and aide (LofC).jpg" title="Major Dalrymple [left] after a raid (Library of Congress)" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">There were some exceptions to the law. Churches could use wine for religious services. Druggists might sell up to one pint of liquor to someone with a doctor&rsquo;s prescription. Hospitals could use liquor as part of the &ldquo;tapering off&rdquo; treatment for alcoholism.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, the evening&rsquo;s biggest party was at the Stevens Restaurant. A dry group, the Chicago Sunday School Association, was celebrating the new era of sobriety. They drank a series of toasts&ndash;with grape juice.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But eventually, those private stocks of liquor would run out. And yes, we all know what happened after that.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/chicago-goes-dry-104886 American history, seen through a shot glass http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/american-history-seen-through-shot-glass-92160 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-19/whiskey shots_Flickr_Kirti Poddar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When you order a couple of beers at your neighborhood bar, you're not just having a drink, you're taking part in a grand old tradition stretching back to the birth of our nation and beyond.</p><p>When the first British colonists began to wash up on our shores, the very first thing they built was usually a tavern.</p><p>"It sounds absurd, doesn't it?" author Christine Sismondo tells weekends on <em>All Things Considered </em>host Guy Raz. "But it kind of served as the initial infrastructure while everyone was waiting for everything to be built properly, and it just wound up being all things to all people."</p><p>Sismondo is the author of the new book, <em>America</em><em> Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops</em>. She says she was inspired to write it after traveling through America and realizing how many important events in the country's history had their roots in bars and taverns.<br> <br> "This is where people organized, this is where people aired their grievances, this was where people spread political propaganda," Sismondo says. You could get a tumbler of whiskey, and you could find out what your neighbors thought about the latest news — and what they planned to do about it.</p><p>Boston's Green Dragon tavern, for example, is thought to be where the Boston Tea Party was planned.</p><p>"The tavern is really considered the cradle of the revolution," Sismondo says.</p><p>Even after the Revolution, taverns continued to serve as social and political hubs, eventually giving rise to the machine politics of the 19th century.</p><p>"That's part of what everybody gets really concerned about," Sismondo says. "The 'rum, Romanism and rebellion' that comes out of the saloons, and that the political system being completely controlled in major urban centers by the buying of votes through alcohol."</p><p>It's a good argument for Prohibition, if you're on the losing side of an election, Sismondo says. She adds that Prohibition was partially the result of an odd alliance between progressive Northerners and conservative Southerners who worried that blacks and immigrants might be gathering and organizing in bars.</p><p>Yet that freedom to gather and organize is the most important aspect of the bar, Sismondo says.</p><p>"I think it's the whole sense that we have the right to congregate, to associate and to effect political change," she says, "and that, I think, is really born in the bar."</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Sun, 18 Sep 2011 12:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-18/american-history-seen-through-shot-glass-92160