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‘Simplified’ liquor code still complex

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Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to review a proposed comprehensive rewrite of the city's liquor code.

The changes, prepared by City Attorney Grant Farrar, reduce the current number of liquor license categories.

But the reduction is only from 32 to 25 categories, and as you can see from the summary chart Evanston Now prepared, it's still pretty complex.

There are more than a dozen different categories for places that sell liquor for consumption on site — two for hotels with restaurants, four for other typse of restaurants plus specialty categories for everything from retirement homes to veterans groups.

And for places that sell liquor by the bottle for consumption off site there are 10 categories with large package stores treated differently than small package stores, which are in turn treated differently than grocery stores that also sell liquor and which themselves are subdivided by size.

And that doesn't even count four different categories of one-day liquor licenses.

Some license categories are limited to a "core" area — basically the center of downtown. Some, but not all of those are charged extra for the option to stay open an hour later at night.

And then there are specialty classes created with new businesses in mind — like the brewpub (Smiley Bros.), the craft distillery (FEW Spirits), and the craft brewery (Temperance Brewing) — that have arrived in town recently.

The permitted hours shown in the list are the latest allowed at any time of year. For many categories those apply mainly to weekends and certain holidays and those businesses must close somewhat earlier on other nights.

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