The Slatest

After Quarter Century Ban, Happy Hours Are Here Again in Illinois


Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

After 26 years of the relentless drone of the 24-hour day without the respite of cheap drinks and half-price appetizers, Illinois is once again home to 23 normal hours and a happy hour. On Wednesday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation lifting the state’s ban on drink specials that was imposed in 1989 due to concerns over drunk driving fatalities. The year before the ban went into effect, half of the fatal crashes in the state were alcohol-related, according to the Chicago Tribune. A number of similar restrictions popped up across the country in the late ‘80s.

The so-called “Culinary and Hospitality Modernization Act” untangles a couple of other awkward alcohol-related knots in state law, but the biggest change is the revival of happy hour. Although there will still be limits (via the Tribune):

“Discounts now will be allowed for up to four hours a day and up to 15 hours a week, as long as they are advertised a week in advance and aren’t offered after 10 p.m. Volume specials, like two drinks for the price of one, remain prohibited.”

The biggest concern over happy hours is the tick-tock of the drink specials that might encourage patrons to guzzle their beers more quickly than is a good idea. “Advocates of the law celebrated the victory as a measure that would help level the playing field for Illinois and increase tourism to Chicago,” according to the Tribune. To these advocates I say: These tourists choosing their destination based on happy hour quality are all yours.