St. Charles to begin regulating BYOB restaurants

St. Charles could soon begin regulating restaurants that practice a "Bring Your Own Bottle" policy — which permits customers to carry in their own liquor to consume with their food — by mandating owners apply for a "Carry-In" license.

The liquor commission recently reviewed and signed off on revisions to the city's code for business licenses and alcoholic beverages, which included the new BYOB regulations as well as updated mandates for alcohol sale and consumption at golf clubs. The revisions await approval by the city council.

There is currently no regulation of BYOB restaurants by either St. Charles or Illinois, as state law delegates regulation to municipalities, said Mayor Ray Rogina, who also serves as liquor commissioner.

"If we stood silent on this matter, and stayed as we are today, anyone could allow for beer, wine or hard liquor in their establishment under the silence of the city and the state," Rogina said. "We're attempting to take a stand on this."

Once the new code is in effect, restaurants wishing to participate in BYOB will need to receive a Class F-1 license from the liquor commission, said St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan. This includes the three St. Charles establishments already offering a BYOB policy, which are Liu Brothers Asian Bistro, E & S Fish Company and La Vita Cigars, said Tina Nilles, administrative assistant for the city.

Licensed restaurants would then have to comply with certain requirements, such as only allowing unopened bottles into the restaurants and limiting one 750 milliliter bottle of wine or one 6-pack of beer to be carried in per customer, Keegan said. Alcohol must be consumed by customers who are served a meal during food service hours, he said.

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