Chicago's airports offer 24-hour alcohol service...does yours?
If you like to relax in Chicago late at night by getting sloshed at O'Hare airport, you'll like this news:
Chicago's city council has unanimously approved 24-hour liquor sales in Chicago's two international airports, O'Hare and Midway. Previously, their airports' alcohol sales were banned between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. (Monday to Saturday) and banned between 3 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays.
According to the Chicagoist, "all 32 restaurants at O'Hare and 11 at Midway with liquor licenses now have the OK to stay open 24/7 to keep you drunk before you hit the sky because, hey, what could go wrong?"
And every bar in O'Hare airport has a Bavarian theme
Chicago is such a party town, you can even order beer, wine, and mixed alcoholic drinks from airport pushcarts. Gregg Cunningham, Coordinator of Special Projects at the Chicago Department of Aviation, emailed me to confirm that "there are two (2) pushcarts in operation at O’Hare International Terminal 5 by Parades bar and one pushcart at Midway in Concourse A."
Of course, many would say that Chicago is demonstrating an enlightened approach to liquor. So how do Canadian airports match up?
Here on the west coast, liquor regulations at Vancouver's international airport (YVR) are controlled by BC's provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch which nobody has EVER accused of being 'enlightened'.
Kate Donegani of YVR communications says drinking hours at YVR are on a "14-hour maximum cycle" and that "most YVR restaurants offer liquor service between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m, or between 11 a.m. and 1 a.m., depending on flight schedules."
Thirsty travellers in Toronto Pearson get a little extra time at the beer taps but only late at night. According to Trish Krale of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the maximum hours of alcohol service "as set out under the Liquor License Act and its Regulations in Ontario are currently Monday to Sunday 11:00 am to 2:00 am."
I've contacted other Canadian airports to find out their drinking schedules, too (I'll let you know their responses later this week). My assumption, based entirely entirely on my own late-night airport haunts, is that no airport in Canada allows 24/7 drinking. So if you're stuck in your local airport at 4 a.m. and you reallly want to get your drink on, you'll have to build a still and brew your own.What do you think...should more airports allow drinking around the clock?
-- Ken Hegan
Read more of Ken’s MSN travel stories here
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