Mayor Pulls The Keg's Liquor License

Underage drinking violations cited as the cause.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl decided to revoke The Keg's liquor license today, citing public safety concerns stemming from repeated incidents of underage drinking at the bar, TribLocal reported.

owner, Tom Migon, is also barred from applying for another Evanston liquor license, according to the article.

At last week's Liquor Board hearing on the issue, City Attorney Grant Farrar referred to a Twitter account that was run under The Keg's name and included texts alluding to the welcoming of under-age drinkers at the bar. However, The Daily Northwestern ran a story over the weekend that said the account, @kegofevanston, was actually the work of a then Northwestern student.

TribLocal reported that the bar has received 111 alcohol-related ordinance citations since 2005.

Read the full TribLocal story here and the full Daily Northwestern story here.

What do you think? Was the closing fair? Vote in our poll and let us know why you feel that way in the comment section.

Tom Fischl January 31, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Robbie - I am so sorry for your loss that could have been prevented. The closing of The Keg came 9 years too late for me as I got caught up in a legal battle that originated with a business partner who worked part-time at The Keg. I had fired my business partner because I was disturbed by what went on at The Keg and I sent letters to the city warning that something would happen if The Keg wasn't shut down. 1 year later, Mr. Gresham lost his life and in some ways I blame myself for not being more vocal about it. There is more to the story as to why it took so long to shut it down. I wish the media that knows the story would tell it so people would know the truth. Peace
lucas January 31, 2012 at 09:23 PM
They should also start watching the Grocery Chains for selling to under age
Evanston Resident January 31, 2012 at 09:33 PM
111 alcohol-related ordinance citations since 2005 - that means they've averaged 1-2 citations per month for the last seven years. Yeah, revoking their liquor license is really unreasonable.
Jesse C. February 01, 2012 at 05:23 AM
There is something about Patch, that makes people think it is o.k. to accuse and be rude to commenters. You don't need to agree with what I say, but being disrespectful is uncalled for. Underage drinking is going to happen wherever you go. We live in a college town, and sometimes I think many people forget that. Most of those citations link directly back to college students. Please remind of the last college you've heard of where kids don't drink illegally. I'm not saying I support underage drinking, but when you have 10,000 college students in your town, they are bound to drink illegally. Yes, what the Keg did was illegal. If the city wants to shut down businesses here and there, we need to have plans to bring new ones into this town. Obviously what we have now isn't working. Look all over Downtown Evanston, look at Evanston Plaza, look all over the place and you'll see vacant spaces. We need to do something in this town, to draw people in. The Keg wasn't the right thing, but we need to have a plan of action in place. Stop fighting the inevitable and start working towards a thriving and safe suburb. After all, isn't that what we all want?
jim February 01, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Suggest you read the story about the Murder.
Ally Mauck February 01, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Reign of terror? I guess you aren't familiar with the assorted murders and fights that have happened at the Keg. Or perhaps you are a frequent patron of the establishment? I can only wonder why someone is upset about getting rid of a hellhole like the Keg, where they actually have stripper poles on the dance floor. Is that really the kind of business that makes Evanston a better place?
Jim Moriarty February 01, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I hope another rug shop opens up. Evanston needs more stores that sell rugs.
mij February 01, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I was thinking Subway
John Brinkmann February 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
good smile Jim---and let us not forget nail salons or java cafe's
Toni Jamieson February 01, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Being a college town is no excuse for allowing illegal drinking. I think everyone knows it happens but that's still no reason for a business owner to allow it. Of course there are empty businesses we're in a recession and until that ends there will still be a lot more of them. Planning for new businesses is not as easy as it sounds. If we want more companies in Evanston then we should fight for lower property taxes or lower rent or smaller interest on business loans. Not closing a business or looking the other way when there is clearly illegal activity because we don't want an empty building is insane. I do agree that working towards a thriving and safe suburb is the right idea, and it's started with revoking a liquor license form an irresponsible business person. But remember he's not closed down he just can't serve liquor (YAY)
Earl Weiss February 01, 2012 at 10:13 PM
The posts at 6:48 am and 7:08 am 1/31/12 were by me, not Lynn Orman Weiss. They should not have showed up under her name. The site would not let nme delete the 6:48 post and i tried to e-mail patch to have thenm pull it. I posted the 7:08 am item to let everyone know it was not her. Now I am letting everyone know it was me. If you have issues with any professionalism of those posts, lay them at my door, not hers.
lucas February 01, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Toni perhaps the gorcery stores should stop selling it since if you read the police blotter people are walking out with bottles almost daily. Thars illigal. If stores can't control the stealing take away license. Yes underage drinking is illigal. Bet most places that serve it have problems.
Toni Jamieson February 01, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Stanley you are absolutely right most places have problems but if you've started a scrapbook of citations then you SHOULD/NEED to be closed down. I hate to see any business go under but it really doesn't bother me if the owner ignores the problem. I wonder if there are actions that he could have taken, like classes for his personnel to spot fake IDs, a better security firm anything to ensure the safety of the underage public. Knowing that it's a college town means you should have in place all the necessary precautions nothing is 100% but 111 citations (to me) means he really didn't care.
lucas February 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Yess 111 citations is a lot. But it is over 6 plus years. Not defending owner. City should publish citations at other locations in town. Think the state should find a way with bar code and slide machine to make it easier for all businesses that sell liquor.
Toni Jamieson February 02, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Wow now that's an idea the citations should be published for the public to see. You know the only thing that upsets me with the city is that he was allowed to go on for that amount of time. After 10 citations he should have been on probation after that he should have been revoked for at least a year then gradually allowed to serve again. I don't know why it took so long to revoke it.
lucas February 02, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I believew he was closed off and on over the years.
annie February 02, 2012 at 05:39 AM
As a parent of 2 young adults, over 18 and under 21, its fine with me that they revoked the Keg's liquor license. I agree with the comments that there should have been a better system in place at the Keg for checking ID's, there ARE many fake ones out there. It's a well known fact, that underage kids could get in there and drink for YEARS. I also agree after that after a certain amount of citations, thinking 5, the license should have been pulled. How many warnings does one need? The people who protect the rest of us are tired of dealing with drunk teenagers and if there is a problem at other places that serve underage, then this is a good example of what will happen. And finally, if you haven't figured it out yet, its called "zero tolerance".
Jim Moriarty February 04, 2012 at 03:25 AM
If you are a good parent then there is no need for zero tolerance.
annie February 04, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Ouch!!!! How old are your kids by the way?
mij February 06, 2012 at 07:37 PM
RETAIL THEFT A man stole alcohol from the Jewel-Osco store around 11:55 p.m. Friday on the 1100 block of Chicago Avenue.
lucas February 09, 2012 at 02:00 AM
SHOULDN'T EVANSTON FIRST LIQUORS LOSE LICENSE: Michael J. Cunningham, 19, of 1820 Chicago Ave., Evanston, was arrested at 7:50 p.m. Friday at Evanston First Liquors, 1019 Davis St. and charged will illegal possession of liquor by a minor. He is due in court March 14.
lucas February 09, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Michael J. Cunningham, 19, of 1820 Chicago Ave., Evanston, was arrested at 7:50 p.m. Friday at Evanston First Liquors, 1019 Davis St. and charged will illegal possession of liquor by a minor. He is due in court March 14.
Emily Stone (Editor) February 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I thought this article on Evanston 1st Liquors would be of interest to some of you given your comments: http://patch.com/A-qJ3X
Melissa June 19, 2012 at 05:15 PM
mij June 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Evanston 1st Liquors was fined ONLY $2000. for sales to minors. Pretty small fine. I would think it would be easier for Evanston 1st Liquors to verify or reject a person for Liquor sales. Granted the Keg needs to improve its proceduresfor checking but checking a ID in a dark bar isn't as easy as in a well lite store.
Melissa June 19, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Right. We are all working toward a thriving and safe suburb...okay sweetie, now it's time to wake up...Evanston was once a safe and thriving place about 50 years ago. It has slowly declined ever since in every way. We're not working toward anything, but how to make it to the next "phase"...and you better believe money is an underlying factor on every level of this entire issue. We are making these businesses responsible for our young adults. Of course they should card/restrict, etc...but if they missed some people, who is to blame - them or the deceitful young adult? And please don't say they are too young to know any better. I do studies on young adults, and they are doing things than you can't even imagine-and they know better... But I see many of you have adapted well to the Evanston mentality, and are on your high horses judging the world, and giving instructions (not suggestions) for a better Evanston. Since it is a city issue, The Mayor should pay for a policeman or security to stand right outside and ask for id's .
Melissa June 19, 2012 at 05:57 PM
He was caught at the store?? Did he purchase or steal?
Evanston Resident June 19, 2012 at 07:35 PM
"but if they missed some people, who is to blame - them or the deceitful young adult? " Them. If a few underage kids get in, it's a mistake. When you are cited for at least 111 violations, it's a pattern. That's not "an Evanston mentality". It's common sense.
mij June 19, 2012 at 08:14 PM
@ Evanston Resident 111 out of how many customers over 6+ years. Why the cover up for evanston liquors?
Melissa June 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM
@ Evanston Resident...I'm discussing, not looking for a fight...I never said that part was an Evanston mentality. I do, however know there is an Evanston mentality just like there is a Little Rock Ar, Peoria, etc. mentality. My point was (indirectly) that you can take every liquor store out of Evanston, and these underages students will still drink. So are we concerned about how Evanston looks or keeping kids safe. There are other solutions is all I'm saying, Mr. or Ms. common sense. @mij...ok, you're right. After 111 they should have been gone.


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