After receiving the go-ahead from the state legislature and City Council, local bars and restaurants are planning to sell mixed drinks to-go, a boon to an industry that has suffered terribly in the coronavirus shut-down.
“This is awesome news, and it’s definitely going to help the revenue,” said Alex Argirov, who owns Ascione Bistro, 1500 E. 55th St.
Virtue, 1462 E. 53rd St., will begin selling margaritas, old fashioneds, a red punch and "Patience is a Virtue," with vodka, Creme Yvette and rhubarb bitters.
Margaritas are also planned for sale this weekend at Maravillas, 5506 S. Lake Park Ave. "From there, we'll add more drinks," said Tiny Cossyleon, whose family has owned the Mexican restaurant for 15 years.
Seeking to avoid mixed drinks that would be watered down from melted ice by the time they got home, Nella Pizza e Pasta, 1125 E. 55th St., which is now taking reservations for outdoor dining, plans to start selling Negronis and Manhattans in sealed to-go in August in collaboration with a third-party contractor.
Other local restaurants like the Sit Down Cafe & Sushi Bar, 1312 E. 53rd St., are considering selling cocktails to-go but have not made any decisions yet.
Medici on 57th, 1327 E. 57th St., has no current plans to start selling them. Manager Kirsten Esterly cited logistical difficulties selling the cocktails in labeled, tamper-proof sealed containers, as the law dictates. "We may embark on that down the road, but right now we are not doing that," she said.
The management at Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap, 1172 E. 55th St., and Ja' Grill, 1510 E. Harper Court, also have no plans to begin selling cocktails to-go.
Manager Sonnie Kireta of The Cove Lounge, 1750 E. 55th St., hopes for good business selling of cocktails to-go. The East Hyde Park tavern, one of two bars in the neighborhood to only serve liquor, lacks the outdoor space to serve customers on-site, which the city allowed such establishments to do on June 17, and has been selling takeout beer and ice.
Business has been hard for The Cove since the pandemic began. All bartenders have been laid off. But Kireta hopes that the looming opening of Promontory Point will benefit sales. To-go cocktail sales begin Friday.
Another bar that does not itself sell food, the Falcon Inn, 1601 E. 53rd St., has been closed since the coronavirus shutdown commenced, and the Herald could not reach its management for comment.
Under Phase 4 of the state's "Restore Illinois" coronavirus response plan, bars and restaurants would be allowed to open with capacity limited and Illinois Department of Public Health-approved safety guidance.
All regions of Illinois are meeting benchmarks to enter Phase 4 on July 1, though the City of Chicago entered Phase 3 a few days after surrounding parts of northeastern Illinois did so.
"We will be ready to go July 1, if (Mayor Lori) Lightfoot gives us the OK," Kireta said.