Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to consider an ordinance creating a new liquor license class to permit the sale of cans and bottles of beer at gas stations.

The ordinance is being sought by owners of the Shell gas station at 2494 Oakton St., who want to add beer to the items sold in their convenience store on site.

The ordinance has the support of Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the gas station. She told the Liquor Control Board last month that the business owners are very responsible people and there’ve been no problems at the property.

She also noted that it’s located quite a distance from the nearest homes.

The ordinance, as drafted, sets a minimum size for the convenience store area of a gas station eligible for the license at 3,000 square feet.

The recently constructed Shell’s convenience store has about 3,500 square feet. It’s not clear whether any other gas stations in Evanston could clear that size hurdle.

The ordinance limits the floor area devoted to beer sales to 400 square feet.

It also limits beer sale hours to 8 a.m. to midnight.

Update: Only Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, voted against the gas station liquor license on a vote to introduce it Monday night. The license likely will be given final approval at the City Council’s June 23 meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Gas station beer

    Ann: You've crossed the line. I really appreciate your efforts to bolster the economy of the 8th ward but this is too much. I certainly hope your fellow aldermen will see the error of your ways.

    John Arndt

  2.  Beer sales

    This proposal has the potential for some serious long term problems. When you make single cans or bottles of beer available, you are inviting trouble. It is an invitation to hang out  and loiter.  When I lived in Chicago, the community lobbied to stop the sale of single cans of beer, because these consumers hung outside the liquor store till closing time. It prevented families from feeling comfortable to go past the store. Once a ban was put in place, the single can consumers left, making the street more available to the community. Don't support this ordinance.

    1. Single cans

      In an effort to prevent the problem you describe, Evanston's liquor code has for years barred the sale of single containers of beer that are less than 40 ounces in size. Smaller cans and bottles have to be sold as six-packs or whatever other groupings the distributors provide.

      That rule will apply to licenses issued to gas stations as well.

      — Bill

  3. Selling beer from 8 a.m. to midnight?

    Not certain that this is a good idea at all. But the very lengthy sale hours make it a "no" for me. 

    If they had proposed 10 a.m. to 10 pm., it would not have raised as many red flags for me. With an 8 a.m. start time, our high school students will have enough time to duck in and buy a few beers before school starts. And an inebriated person will have enough time after getting kicked out of a bar at 10 or 11 p.m. to buy a couple of six packs and go to some side street to drink them in their car. 

    I live on a street where people park their cars and eat their fast food late at night/early in the morning then dump the entire bag of leftover food and other messy trash out their window. It is a mess to clean up (which I usually do or it would sit for days to be torn apart by the critters) and gives the neighborhood a junky feel. I don't want to add beer cans and worse that may follow from overindulging in alcohol to my cleanup detail. 

    And sale of single cans of beer is a definite "no" at any time of the day. 

  4. ‘It’s located quite a distance from the nearest homes.’

    "She also noted that it's located quite a distance from the nearest homes."

    And its a 5 minute drive from my house and less than 1 minute from the nearest neighborhood and 2 minutes from Dawes School.  For a compact community like ours selling alcohol at a gas station makes a mockery of the idea distance mitigates the bad effect of this ordinance proposal.

    Fast food trash is a nightly occurence, adding alcohol to mix is dumb.

    Perhaps homeowner concerns no long rate in the 8th ward?

  5. Encourage DUI?

    Huh?  As well as adding to street litter, doesn't this plan encourage driving under the influence?  Not a good idea at all.

  6. Not a good idea

    I am a home owner within 10 minutes walking distance from the Gas Station and I oppose the sale of alcohol at that location. We might as well give a liquor license to the snack stand in James Park. To use distance as an argument for alcohol sales is a joke as well as saying that the gas station owners are responsible. 

    If we need to devolp business in Evanston then lets start leasing all the empty retail spaces around town, especially the old Osco in the 8th ward.

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