Bars pay price for underage drinking

Several campus bars will receive penalties starting in the fall semester for previous cases of serving underage patrons.

In an effort to curb underage drinking, C.O. Daniels, 608 E. Daniel St., will change its required age for entry from 19 to 21 years old when school starts in August. Joe’s Brewery, 706 S. Fifth St., and White Horse Inn, 112 1/2 E. Green St., will be temporarily suspended at the start of the semester.

Susan Hofer, representative from the Liquor Control Commission, said the differences in punishments were based on the number of offenses that were committed.

“The severity of discipline is largely based on whether this is the first, second or third time that the establishment has received citations for underage drinking,” Hofer said.

Recent graduate Danielle Novello said she does not think that changing the entry age for C.O. Daniels will do much good.

“I think if the age to get in is raised to 21,” Novello said. “There will just be more kids using fake IDs, and more people getting in trouble.”

Novello also said that either more people will be given tickets, or the bar will receive less business.

“I remember when I was a freshman that Firehaus made it so you had to be 21 to enter, but then people just stopped going there. They ended up just lowering the age back down to 19, and it seems to be doing a lot better,” Novello said.

Grant Anderson, a recent graduate, had a similar view.

“They’ll be closed by Labor Day. Nobody goes there who is even 19,” Anderson said.

C.O. Daniels made an agreement with Champaign Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Gerald Schweighart to raise their required entry age to 21, Hofer said. It is a choice on the part of the liquor license holder to make that type of decision, she continued.

Schweighart was unavailable for comment.

According to a monthly discipline report by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, agents from the Champaign Police Department and Illinois State police regularly perform Campus Tap detail, or bar checks, in which they hand out citations for any violations related to underage drinking.

When bar checks are done, the Campus Tap agents check to see if bars are violating the Champaign City Ordinance which states that no license employee can “knowingly, recklessly or negligently” allow underage drinking to occur.

“I think it’s all pretty funny,” Novello said. “It’s amusing to see that they’re trying to stop underage drinking from happening. Nothing they do can ever really work. Even if kids aren’t able drinking in the bars, they’ll be drinking somewhere less safe like a house party.”

According to the Liquor Commission Control report, for the month of May, The Clybourne was issued 15 citations, Firehaus was issued two citations, and C.O. Daniels was issued nine citations.

Other bars that were targeted and found to be in violation of the Champaign City Ordinance included White Horse Inn, Bradley’s and Kam’s, according to the report.