Cork and Kerry

The beer garden at Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western Ave., opened on June 17, when bars in the city that don’t have a retail food establishment license were allowed to offer outdoor areas for drinking. Mayor Lori Lightfoot later announced that the city will enter Phase 4 of a response plan to COVID-19 on Friday, June 26, with bars and restaurants able to offer indoor seating. (Review photo)

Please note: The Beverly Review is providing this article for free due to a generous grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Chicago bars and restaurants that sell food were allowed to open for outdoor dining on June 3.

Two weeks later, bars that only sell drinks—and do not have a retail food establishment license—were allowed to offer outdoor services as the city continued to reopen amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Cork and Kerry Tavern in Beverly, which has a spacious beer garden, joined other bars in reopening on June 17.

Owner Bill Guide was relieved to be back in business.

“I’m happy that we’re open,” Guide said. “We just want to operate our business in the new COVID-19 climate that we’re in where we do everything in our power to keep everybody healthy and safe and, at the same time, try and operate our business as we have since 1988.”

Seatings at drinking establishments without a retail food establishment license are limited to two hours per person.

Alcohol sales for bars and restaurants for on-site consumption must end at 11 p.m., and alcohol sales for carryout and delivery must end at 9 p.m.

Days after announcing the news about opening bars that don’t have a retail food license, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that indoor dining and drinking at restaurants, bars, breweries and other eating and drinking establishments can begin on Friday, June 26, aligning with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to move the entire state into Phase 4 of the reopening plan.

Restaurants and bars will be able to offer indoor service at 25-percent capacity with a maximum of 50 people per room or floor.

Patrons both inside and outside must be seated at tables that are 6 feet apart, with no more than 10 people per table.

Museums, zoos, performance venues, summer camps and youth activities can also open. Social gatherings may include up to 50 people for indoor events and 100 for outdoors.

The decision to allow indoor dining, Lightfoot said, was based on the continued positive trend in the COVID-19 data metrics overseen by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Concerning the reopening of bars without retail food licenses, Lightfoot encouraged those businesses to partner with food trucks or restaurants to sell food.

Cork and Kerry, as it has in the past three years, is hosting Food Truck Fridays.

Guide said vendors will include “city and neighborhood favorites” such as The Fat Shallot, Happy Lobster, Cheesie’s and Aztec Dave’s.

He will host the promotion “as long as the weather will allow us.”

He had been attempting to host food truck events before June 17 but was not allowed to open, so he and his staff were “happily surprised” by Lightfoot’s announcement.

“It’s a win for the city and a win for the food trucks,” Guide said, “and a win for us.”

In announcing the news on resuming indoor dining, Lightfoot said in a statement that she hopes city eateries bounce back.

“Our neighborhood restaurants, bars and breweries all stand as among the most cherished parts of our communities and are integral to the fabric of our entire city,” Lightfoot said. “Like all Chicagoans, I am personally excited to see them take these new, cautious steps towards safely reopening, and commend their collaboration throughout this unprecedented crisis. As we move ahead in the coming weeks and months, I look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue our journey in rebuilding our city and becoming stronger and more equitable than we have ever been.”

Cork and Kerry had been closed since mid-March and didn’t offer carryout or delivery service as did other bars and restaurants.

The bar will now be open every day, Guide said, from 2 to 11 p.m. on weekdays, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Guide said the first day back was a success.

“It was great,” he said. “People followed the rules. Everybody was happy. Let’s hope for more of the same. I expect it to be the same way.”