CHICAGO (CBS) — Happy hour could soon return to bars and restaurants in Illinois.

The state has banned happy hour drink specials since 1989, in an effort to cut down on drunk driving, though bars and restaurants were still allowed to designate “happy days,” when they could offer discounted drinks on a specific day of the week.

Business owners have said happy day discounts aren’t as successful at drawing crowds as a daily happy hour.

The Illinois House and Senate have approved legislation to again legalize happy hour, allowing bars and restaurants to offer discounted beer, wine, and spirits for up to 4 hours a day, and 15 hours a week.

“It’s gonna be huge,” said Ryan See, owner of Bridge House Tavern and Compass Bar.

See said the return of happy hour would give bars and restaurants like his new freedoms, and expand choices for customers.

“It gives us more flexibility. It will also give us more leverage with our vendors. It will allow my chef to be more creative with his pairings,” he said.
Some restrictions would remain; happy hours could not be offered after 10 p.m., and discounts would have to be posted at least 7 days in advance.

The legislation has not yet been sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner. It’s unclear if the governor plans to sign the measure, but was approved with enough votes to override a veto.

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