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World of Beer may topple long-time ban on bars

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The deal that brought legal booze to Evanston decades ago is about to be reconsidered. Aldermen this week indicated they’re ready to allow a bar that doesn’t serve food to open in the city.

The requirement that any establishment that serves booze also offer full restaurant food service was built into the 1970s vintage rules that ended Evanston’s run of more than a century as a dry community.

City officials then decided that requiring that food be available to sop up the liquor in patrons’ systems would cut down on the adverse effects of allowing booze into the long-time home of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

And that theory has held until World of Beer came along.

Fountain Square Building owner Ted Mavrakis has proposed opening a franchisee of the national chain that features a wide array of craft brews on tap in the building at 1601 Sherman Ave. downtown.

The franchise model involves letting patrons phone out for food to be delivered by other nearby restaurants, but no food service of its own.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, the city’s liquor commissioner, who had tried to shoehorn World of Beer in under existing rules, said she was surprised Monday night by the aldermanic change of heart.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, seemed to be speaking for other aldermen when she said, “We want the business and don’t mind the model, it just doesn’t fit in the current code.”

Tisdahl said today that she would ask city attorney Grant Farrar to draft provisions for a new liquor license class to fit the World of Beer model that would be “minimally disruptive” to the city’s traditional liquor rules.

The Liquor Control Review Board had been scheduled to hear two issues today.

One, a request from The Mather to permit installation of an automatic wine dispensing machine in its building at 425 Davis St., was postponed when no one from The Mather appeared.

The key question on that seemed to be how a machine could check that no one underage was being served, even in a retirement community.

The other issue, a review of recent ordinance violations at Evanston 1st Lquors, 1019 Davis St., was postponed, the mayor said, after the attorney for the liquor store said he hadn’t been aware of most of the reported violations and need more time to prepare.

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