HARVEY, Ill. (CBS) — If you’re a drinker, you’re going to have to buy that drink before midnight in south suburban Harvey.
A new ordinance keeps bars and clubs from selling alcohol past 12 midnight. Businesses call the new time restrictions far-reaching and uncalled for.
But as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the mayor said the restriction is exactly what Harvey needs to get back on track.
The shelves were stocked in front of indirect red light at one Harvey nightclub Tuesday night. But there is no liquor flowing at any bar, lounge, or gentleman’s club in Harvey after midnight.
“It just clipped us right from under our feet with no warning,” said Asa Powell of Club O.
Various establishment owners found themselves in the same situation when it came time to renew their city liquor license. The city informed owners the registers would no longer ring up alcohol past midnight.
“What city in the world has gentlemen’s club and nightclubs and they make them all end at midnight?” Powell said.
The changes went into effect in November 2019. Three months later, bars and lounges that cater to overnight crowds have either shut down or dipped in patrons.
Employees at Sugababyyy’s Sports Bar & Grill are losing out too.
“You don’t get no tips, no nothing,” said employee Linda Barnes. She said that means “really no extra money to put gas in my car to go back and forth.”
Ben Garvin, the owner of Jack’s or Better, said he can’t survive.
“We’ve put our house up for sale, actually, because this is our livelihood,” he said.
But Mayor Christopher Clark said the change is needed to address crime in and around Harvey.
“My grandma always told me that nothing good happens after 12 o’clock anyway,” Clark said.
Powell begged to differ.
“Maybe nothing good comes to him at midnight – you know what I’m saying. But other people, when they’re 20-something, 30-soemthing years old, the City of Harvey, they have residents that want to go out,” he said.
Mayor Clark campaigned on reform, and said the liquor ordinance is an essential part of his agenda.
“My loyalty is not to them. My loyalty is to the residents of city of Harvey,” Clark said. “So it’s not my business to be in the business of those businesses.”
But John Hamilton of Club O added, “Without the liquor license, it devalues the property, you know, so he’s trying to get us out of here.”
The ordinance also requires businesses to shut down at midnight, and that has left many to question what’s next. They are considering taking legal action collectively.