Forest Park’s village council voted Feb. 28 to allow the Lantern Haus bar to have DJs play on their premises – but only in March. Lantern Haus is located at 7414 Madison St.
Under the village municipal code, bars and restaurants have to apply for amusement licenses any time they want to host a performance. That gives Forest Park officials a chance to review plans. While this provision hasn’t been enforced for many years, the village has been taking a more hands-on approach in the wake of several high-profile incidents involving rowdy crowds.
Mayor Rory Hoskins, who serves as Forest Park’s liquor commissioner, previously suspended Lantern Haus’ liquor license due to a fight that allegedly occurred outside the bar on July 25 but revoked the suspension less than a week later after the bar filed an appeal.
Lantern Haus applied recently to have DJs every Saturday during March and April. While the commissioners had no issues with March dates, they felt that April dates were too far in advance. They agreed that, from this point on, they would approve applications on a month-to-month basis, The village council is currently expected to consider the applications for Lantern Haus’ April events during its March 28 meeting.
According to the application, the March 5 event will take place between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m., while the rest of the events will take place between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. The application doesn’t include any further details.
As the village council took up the vote, Commissioner of Public Streets and Improvements Ryan Nero, whose areas of supervision include street conditions, suggested only approving the March dates, out of concern that they were approving applications too far ahead of time. Hoskins agreed that it was a valid concern. Commissioner Joseph Byrnes suggested that approving the applications for the following month during the second regular village council meeting of the month would make sense. The council agreed, voting unanimously to amend the motion and approve the amended motion.
During the same meeting, the village council approved O’Sullivan’s Public House bar’s request to put up a tent for the March 5 Forest Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade. According to the application, they plan to use it the way they have during the parades before the pandemic – “for families to have a place to congregate for lunch” and as a meeting spot for Mercy Home School for Boys and Girls volunteers. As before, they plan to host Irish dancers, “a small group playing live music” later in the afternoon and either a DJ or a second music group in the evening.
The village council approved the application unanimously and without discussion.
In practice, the provision hasn’t been enforced for many years. Last July 2, the village council approved a moratorium on issuing amusement licenses until Sept. 6, to give the village time to come up with something that wouldn’t require quite as much micromanaging while still giving the village some oversight. While the commissioners have been discussing the ordinance, they didn’t finalize anything by the time the moratorium expired.