A few years back, when the Cubs released their plans to improve Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood, one of the ideas was to set up an open-air plaza where people could party:
The Chicago Bears, Cubs and White Sox would all be able to sell alcohol in a plaza outside their stadiums under a new ordinance introduced to City Council today by 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney.
The funny part is this:
For Wrigley’s purposes, however, Ald. Tunney also worked in specific clauses to limit the number of points of sale a plaza can have as well as a maximum noise level it can have.
Now it is no secret that outside of Chicago Cubs game days, there really isn’t much of a point to hanging out in the neighborhood (other than getting randomly drunk, I guess). The Ricketts family and the Cubs have been trying to improve this area of their product, which would in turn increase team revenues which are necessary to remain competitive and to pay for the renovations that they’re footing the bill for themselves.
It sounds like Alderman Tom Tunney has been hemming and hawing for a while on the ordinance parameters, and the Cubs finally got fed up. Via multiple sources, the Cubs decided to bypass Tunney for the time being to at least get some booze in the plaza when it’s completed later on this year:
The Cubs on Thursday accused Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) of “fronting” for Clark Street bars and tried a squeeze play that could pave the way for extended liquor sales at an open-air plaza adjacent to a renovated Wrigley Field.
Levy Restaurants applied for a patio permit that would permit liquor sales on the year-round plaza for the extended hours included in Tunney’s original 2013 ordinance: until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. The patio license would also pave the way for the sale of mixed drinks in addition to beer and wine.
“The time has come to move forward. We can’t afford to wait any longer. We’ve been having these discussions since 2014,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.
It does sound like the Cubs still need the alderman to get permits in place for performances and festivals, but getting alcohol in the mix (huh huh) is at least a good step forward and should grease the wheels some.
But the two-year license does not allow for live or recorded music or special events like the much-touted ice rink, family movie nights and farmers market, so the Cubs say they still want to work with Tunney on creating the ordinance.
You guys pretty much know my thoughts about the Cubs versus the neighborhood and Tunney. There is probably a happy medium they could come to, but we’ll see what they come up with before the fall, as the Cubs hope to book acts for the plaza in the near future. In the meantime, the mood around Wrigleyville on non-Cubs game days has improved from “boring” to “boring but at least drunk.”