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St. Charles Approves Liquor License for New Downtown Establishment

Alibi is located at 12 N. Third St.

A new business which become the subject of scrutiny by St. Charles alderman concerned about the number of bars in the city will get its requested liquor license.

The St. Charles briefly reviewed a revised plan Monday submitted by the owner of , 12 N. Third St., but approving the liquor license in a 6-4 vote.

Revised plans indicate a maximum capacity of 279 with enough seats to accommodate 188 people in the 8,000-square-foot space. Prior to the change, the Third Avenue building housed an antique market.

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The B3 license approved is one for businesses that primarily offer food and entertainment, such as restaurants, and is different than those labeled in the city code for businesses that mainly cater to liquor sales.

The establishment also will feature "interesting artists from the music, art or cultural scene," according to Alibi's website.

Bar owner Rich Simpson's plan also changes a ticket window into a coat check and makes adjustments to a proposed raised stage inside the establishment.

Members of the City Council had criticized Simpson's plan last year when he was seeking approval for a liquor license. Alderman Jim Martin, who was among the four who voted against the license Monday night, had previously express doubts about the plan for the bar.

“I don’t think you really know what you want,” Martin told Simpson in August, after the business owner had agreed to changes requested by the city.

One requested change included removing "bar" from the business name. While city documents refer to the establishment as "Alibi Bar & Grill," signage at the building and images on its website simply call it "Alibi." 

During the same August meeting, Alderman Cliff Carrignan said that he believed St. Charles did not need more bars. Carrignan did vote in favor of the license on Monday.

Additional city requirements had stalled a vote in September.

David Amundson February 08, 2012 at 05:41 AM
The only problem is that our liquor license ordinance has been totally gutted to the point that there are no longer any meaningful distinctions between the types of licenses issued (between class B (presumably restaurants) and class C (presumably bars)). An owner can have a class B license, make 100% of his/her sales in liquor, and the City would have absolutely zero recourse, provided that they at least offer a required menu of food during the required hours. Our liquor ordinance is currently a joke and is in desperate need of being thrown overboard and totally re-written.
Holy Moly!!! February 08, 2012 at 12:50 PM
The other problem is that when you speak to college kids in their prime partying years, they thinks St. Charles is an awesome town, not for it's hometown feel or excellent schools, but because of the St. Charles bars :(
David Amundson February 08, 2012 at 02:17 PM
The litmus test for the perception of downtown St. Charles came to me in the form of a Yahoo! group conversation amongst members of the Tri-Cities Mothers of Twins and Triplets club (I was their first male member as a stay-at-home dad with twins). One mom posted a question to the group asking where to go on the weekend, because she finally had a babysitter and she and her husband could have a date night after several months without one. Three or four quick replies came back telling her not where to go, but instead telling her where NOT to go: downtown St. Charles. She was told she she should avoid downtown St. Charles at all costs because it was too young, too rowdy, and too drunk. This is a young married couple we are talking about here, exactly the kind of visitor to our downtown that we should be courting, yet we are actively working to chase away. Say whatever you want about the quality or intentions of the bars/pubs in town - it does not mean a single thing when public perception has turned against you.
Lois Lane February 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Alibi sounds very much like a combination of Chords On Blues and Destination (remember that place in the Old Church Inn?). Years ago wasn't that space called the Jaguar Club? At night St. Charles does get a bit out of hand. It's a rare occasion when my husband and I go into town in the evening and I'm hearing this from more and more people. I look forward to stopping in the Alibi but I'm sure it'll be in the afternoon.
SALT February 08, 2012 at 04:34 PM
St. Charles is changing though. You will notice places like Chord on Blues are going through major changes to cater to the "parent" crowd too. It is a great place to hear live bands from ones that play cover songs to ones that are original. They are less of a just turned 21 and I want to get drunk crowd and MORE of a night out on the town, dancing and eating crowd. I think the bars in st. charles each cater to a different crowd... some to the ones that are just out to drink and others to the ones that are out for an event, band, dinner, or "experience." I think you just need to pick your place that fits you to go out in St. Charles. I am a fan of Chord on Blues... I like their new music they are bringing in along with their food... still some bar favorites but everything is homemade... which wins me over! So when I get a sitter... I head there for the music! But still see a range of ages in the crowd which I like to see!
Andrea Ahlsen March 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
When I was "of age" there were not many places to go in St. Charles. It was known as a quiet family place. Strange how it has changed to be a night club scene.
Leigh Ann Blasen May 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM
i agree

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