Bars, liquor stores speak out on new hours


Kevin Hall

Jake Olson, a junior sports management major, and Emily Jones, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, sit and talk at the bar in IKE’s located on Lincoln Ave. Olson is also an employee at IKE’s.

Kristen Lewis, Staff Reporter

Charleston bars and liquor stores have mixed opinions on the longer bar hours that will begin on Friday night.

Charleston bars are being allowed to stay open for an hour longer then normal on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights because of a new ordinance passed by the city council on Jan. 20.

Ike’s and The Penalty Box Bar and Grill are two of the different bars that are walking distance from Eastern’s campus that might be affected more than the other bars in town.

Mike Taylor, the manager of the Penalty Box, said the change might not be a bad thing.

“I think (the ordinance) would help the town,” Taylor said.

He said this ordinance would also help business in the bar as well.

“It’s all about the Benjamin’s,” Taylor said.

He said if the bars are open longer then the city could make more money.

Andrew Phipps, the owner of Ike’s bar, said Mayor Larry Rennels sat down with a few bar owners in town and discussed the ordinance.

“We’re all excited and hoping for the change,” he said.

Phipps has owned Ike’s since June 2012. Phipps said another hour would be good for business.

Phipps said it would be hard to tell the outcome of this trial because it has never been done here in town.

“I think that they wouldn’t change these rules without the best intentions of the students in mind,” Phipps said. “The city council and the mayor himself put a lot of thought into what actions might happen.”

Bars near the campus of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign close at 2 a.m., and Taylor said that it is good for Eastern to at least try this new ordinance to be like other campuses.

“It makes us more normal like the other universities,” Phipps said.

Taylor said regulating who is allowed to drink and doing everything legally is a good way to keep people safe.

“You can regulate and make sure everyone is safe,” Taylor said.

Phipps added that he thinks changes should be welcomed.

“I think that change is good and any kind of progressive change is even better,” Phipps said.

Taylor said drinking at the bar legally is safer then house parties; alcohol can be properly regulated and distributed to the appropriate age group if everyone goes to the bar.

Gateway Liquors employees John Bays said house parties would be affected somewhat because people might be done partying by 2 a.m.

“Hopefully everyone can handle it and be mature about it since it is a trial period,” Taylor said.

The outcome of the ordinance might not be the same for local liquor stores in Charleston.

On a typical night Panther Liquors closes at 1 a.m. depending on the amount of customers that come into the store or drive through.

Gateway Liquors closes at midnight on Thursdays and Fridays but on Saturday they close at 1 a.m.

Panther Liquors employee Alex Normansell said he is not sure how the ordinance would affect business.

“If people are at bars they’ll probably be less inclined to come here,” he said. “I don’t know if we would have longer hours because of that.”

Bays said business might be the same as long as people continue to have house parties.

“The first week or two people would go crazy about it, then it’ll probably be the same again,” Bays said.

Kristen Lewis can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].