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735 Essington Road, Suite 102, Joliet, Illinois 60435

Paving way for all-ages club

Herald News

By Bob Okon

bokon@stmedianetwork.com

Last Modified: Dec 31, 2010 02:38AM

JOLIET — The Joliet City Council on Monday will review a proposed ordinance allowing all-ages clubs, where minors could join adults for events where alcohol would be served.

The ordinance separates the men from the boys (and women from the girls), so to speak, by setting up rules to prevent adults with alcoholic beverages from mixing with minors.

Two entrepreneurs plan to start an all-ages club downtown if they can get permission from the city.

The club would go into the West Cass Street site formerly known as Venue and previously operating as the Sapphire Club.

Chris Triebes and Mark Bernal previously ran an all-ages club called MoJoes at 159th Street and Harlem Avenue in Orland Park.  The business partners ran the club at three locations in Orland Park and Tinley Park for about six years before it closed a year ago.

Bernal emphasized that experience at MoJoes when he spoke to the council Dec. 20 and said they could operate an all-ages venue in Joliet with alcohol being served to adults only.

MoJoes, however, did not serve alcohol, and this would be the partners’ first experience running a bar.

“We’ve never run a bar and owned a bar ourselves,” Triebes told The Herald-News this week.

He did say that the person hired as bar manager for the Joliet establishment would have experience in selling liquor.  Triebes also said he has promoted and run concerts in venues that served alcohol.

The council on Dec. 20 issued a liquor license to Triebes and Bernal that allows them to open a bar at the site.  But the council would have to approve the proposed ordinance for all-ages clubs before the partners could set up such a venue at the Cass Street location.

Shaping new rules

The business partners are represented by Joliet attorney Michael Hansen, who asked the council to develop the ordinance before the end of January so the business could get started.

The club would be in the former Kline’s Department Store building, which is owned by Joliet real estate developer John Bays.  Bays told the council that he needs a business generating revenue at the site to avoid a foreclosure on the building, which, he said, is tied up in a mortgage with a hotel that he owns.

A proposed ordinance will be ready for review Monday, City Attorney Jeff Plyman said.

“We need to get commentary from the city council, the mayor, and the police department to see what’s appropriate, but you have to start somewhere,” Plyman said.

The proposed ordinance would:

Create a special permit for all-ages clubs that would have to be renewed annually.

Require separate rooms or floors for those drinking alcohol and those underage.

Require a checkpoint between the area where drinking is permitted and the room for underage customers.

Prohibit any alcoholic drinks in the area open to those under 21.

Require two sets of wristbands identifying those over 21 and those underage.

Require that those buying alcoholic drinks wear the over-21 wristband and permit no more than two drinks to be sold at one time.

Require notice to the liquor commissioner and police department any time an all-ages event is going to be held.

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