New Law Brings Happy Hour Back To Illinois Bars — In Moderation

What time is it in Illinois? It’s Happy Hour: fans of cheap after-work drink deals will surely be rejoicing in Illinois, where the governor just signed a law making happy hour legal again in the state — to a certain point.

Illinoisans have been waiting since 1989 to once again convene at bars at that special space between after-work drinks and a committed night on the town, ever since happy hour drink specials were banned under state law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed The Culinary and Hospitality Modernization Act (SB 398) on Wednesday, with the law becoming effective immediately. The bill passed the House on May 28 and the Senate shortly after, on May 31, allowing discounts for up to four hours per day and up to 15 hours a week, as long as those specials are advertised a week in advance and don’t continue after 10 p.m.

Volume specials are still prohibited, the new law notes, so no “two-for-one” drink deals for one person and no “all you can drink” promotions. Also no “ladies drink all night for a super low” price promotions — specials must include everyone.

[We previously included a link to an old Happy Hour FAQ that is thankfully outdated, as of today. Sometimes the heat gets to your brain, you see.]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.