Cork It!

Jessica Cassyle Carr
3 min read
Chicago knows how to party.
Share ::
I’ve always been surprised about how uptight New Mexico can be about alcohol. Perhaps it’s the high DWI rate, or both latent and active Catholicism/Christianity. Whatever the reason, there seems to be an endless cycle of anti-alcohol causes taken on in and around Albuquerque.

So that’s why I was surprised to see that Chicago, my new and unfamiliar Midwestern home, is so relaxed about booze. Although the differences in the two cities are infinite (you can get a cab or take public transportation when the bars close, and underage and legal adults see music harmoniously in the presence of alcohol), I assumed liquor laws in the Midwest would be harsher. Instead, the city is crawling with bars—there are at least five bars in a quarter-mile radius of my apartment, and I live in a neighborhood that’s literally crawling with children. Some bars even stay open until 4 a.m.

But Chicago has taken it one delicious step further: BYOB restaurants. Yes, just like the surreal wonder of the plentiful, yet declining drive-thru daiquiris to be had in my native Louisiana, there are 150+ Chicago restaurants where patrons are invited to bring their own booze and drink it as they please. BYOBs are the result of it being difficult to get a liquor license in the city, and there are two versions: temporary BYOBs where the restaurants are waiting for a liquor license, and regular BYOBs which have no plans to get a license. I’m under the impression that Chicago is the only North American city that has BYOBs in abundance, or at all, but I just read that they are also common in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain.

The first time I went to one of these places, my three dining companions and I were apprehensive about pulling beers out of a bag and drinking them, but the whole process is nearly as easy as doing that at home. Some places do charge small service or corkage fees for glasses, linens and other things, but many do not. In the BYOBs I’ve been to, the waiter just brought us a bottle opener, and we were much less expensively on our way to enjoying ourselves.

In closing, Albuquerque policy makers: Legal or illegal, underage or of age, with transportation or without it, responsible or irresponsible, here or there, alcohol isn’t going away, so pull that cork out of your ass and work on some real problems. And get the people some goddamn taxis and while you’re at it.
1 2 3 746