The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) found that the Lantern Haus bar, 7414 Madison St., did everything that it could to prevent a fight that broke out at a pop-up event on the evening of July 25, 2021, and that Mayor Rory Hoskins, who also acts as the village liquor commissioner, was too punitive when he suspended the bar’s license for 20 days. 

Hoskins suspended the license on Aug. 16, 2021, on the grounds that the bar violated the public nuisance law by failing to prevent a fight. With credit for a six-day emergency closure following the fight, the suspension was lowered to 14 days. Owner Patrick Jacknow appealed the decision to the ILCC and sued Hoskins in federal court, arguing that his bar has been unfairly penalized compared to other Madison Street bars that saw similar incidents. Hoskins returned the license on Aug. 24, the day after the lawsuit was filed.

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Lantern Haus wins liquor license appeal

A second Forest Park bar has won an appeal in front of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) after the group voted to overturn a 20-day suspension against Lantern Haus, 7414 Madison St., last month. The ruling was announced at an ILCC meeting but will not be official until a written order is issued, something…

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While ILCC ruled on the case during its March 16 meeting, the text of the order wasn’t released until April 27. The commission ruled that Lantern Haus couldn’t reasonably expect a fight to break-out during a pop-up event, and that they did everything they could to stop it. The federal lawsuit, which has been suspended pending the outcome of the appeal, will now move forward. 

Hoskins suspended the license on the grounds that Lantern Haus allowed the fight, which started inside the bar, to continue outside causing nuisance, and failing to hire enough security guards to control crowds. ILCC ruled that the Forest Park Code of Ordinance doesn’t explicitly define “nuisance,” but according to the state legal precedent, Hoskins had to show that nuisance was caused by Lantern Haus’ negligence. 

ILCC found that, while Lantern Haus security did usher 50 rowdy customers outside, “this action was in response to an altercation within the premises,” which was something they were required to do under the village ordinance to deescalate the situation. Once it was clear that the customers weren’t disbursing, the commission found, the bar did what they were supposed to do – called the police for help.

While a street fight did happen half a block from the bar, “Lantern Haus actions or inactions did not cause this fight.”

“In fact, Lantern Haus agents attempted to prevent the fight by separating the combatants,” the decision stated, adding that there was no evidence that the staff could’ve done anything else to stop the fight.

As for the charge that Lantern Haus didn’t have enough security, ILCC noted that the village code didn’t have any specific standards for how many security guards an establishment should have and when. They did have one security guard on site during the pop-up event. Since “there is no evidence in the record that this pop-up shop event, by its very nature, would lead to public disruption,” the order stated, it couldn’t reasonably be expected to have additional guards. 

“There is no evidence that pop-up shop events generally involve heavy alcohol consumption or lead to public disruptions, nor that Lantern Haus or other Forest Park businesses had previous unpeaceful pop-up shop events,” the order stated. “There is nothing else in the record that would have suggested this particular popup shop event would turn into an atypical violent event.’

Based on that, ILCC found that Hoskins “ruled against the manifest weight of the evidence” and reversed the decision. 

The federal lawsuit has been suspended pending the outcome of the case. Sean O’Leary, Jacknow’s attorney, said that he isn’t involved in that lawsuit and couldn’t comment. 

Hoskins told the Review that he respected the ILCC’s decision.  O’Leary said that the ruling proved what his client has been saying all along – that the bar followed the law.  

 “Lantern Haus played by the rules; [ILCC] did the right thing by rescinding the suspension,” he said. “[My client] looks forward to proceeding and running a business that continues to follow the rules.”