Friday, March 03, 2006

Great good places

Did you notice how the same article mentions JB's Pub on Mclean Blvd? Again, haven't been. But wasn't it amusing that the neighbors petitioned in support of the beer garden? Of course they support it.

Where did we get the idea that beer gardens need to be a hundred feet away from homes? It's such an odd idea. If word gets out to the Chicagoans living next to Barleycorn's, they'd ridicule us as rubes. The people in that neighborhood and in others all around the world consider their beer gardens a community asset. It's one of the "great good places" that has managed to serve neighborhoods despite the onslaught of globalization, commoditization, and mass marketization of just about every other aspect of traditional American life.

A place where you can sit down with your neighbor is something this city should be encouraging, not shoving away with a hundred foot pole.

Yes, there are people in our community who won't touch beer. God bless them. There are also people who won't eat meat. And if they do it for ethics, God bless them too. Does that mean we should shutter the bars and slam the steakhouses closed? Not directly of course, but by creating an environment that tells them they're loathed?

Are we not, by the arbitrariness by which we set and enforce bzyantine rules about when and where and how they can open and close and who they can serve and and how much and such and such, have we not hung over their heads by a thread the sword of ruin?

I'm amazed at what David Shelton goes through just to keep the Mission open in Elgin. It's a wonder that he chooses to remain here. What makes him put up with it? I marvel.


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