The Forest Park Tap Room has reopened at the corner of Madison and Circle. Its liquor license was reinstated by the village of Forest Park after the Illinois Liquor Control Commission ruled the village had overstepped in pulling the license last August.
Unknown at this moment if the village will appeal the ruling to the state. But it’s already clear that Mayor Rory Hoskins, also the liquor commissioner for Forest Park, plans to keep a sharp eye on a business that has absolutely chosen to not be a great neighbor on the street.
In the days after its reopening, Forest Park police twice visited the tavern and police reports were filed noting that, unsurprisingly, liquor was being served. The point being made is that the village argues the Tap Room does not currently have a legal license from the state. It argues that the necessary license expired on Sept. 30, 2021.
The lawyer for Hansel and Lance Law, the brothers who own the Tap Room, called the state license renewal an “administrative issue.”
Still required. And clearly the village’s focus on it indicates it is not giving the Tap Room a pass on its return to business.
We are now three weeks out from Forest Park’s return to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a parade and a large crowd of determined drinkers. Spring will follow quickly and warmer temperatures remind us that it was a year ago, coming out of the depths of pandemic restrictions, that bars on Madison suddenly drew giant, and, at times, disruptive crowds.
Forest Park wasn’t ready then. Our urging now is that Forest Park officials who have spent a year adjusting — readjusting hours of operation for the bars and restaurants and updating the live entertainment ordinance — make sure they have what they need in place.
Policing strategies need to be finalized. Legal strategies need to be refined.
We’d also urge engagement between the village and bar owners. Tensions throughout last year led to raw wounds that need tending — while also making clear expectations for how local businesses must operate.
This is the moment.