State liquor laws can be complicated. Additionally, they are different in each state you visit. When in Illinois it is important to know the alcohol laws of the state.
In Illinois, you can buy beer for off-premise use from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Sunday. Beer can be purchased for on-premises consumption between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Continue reading to learn about all the rules surrounding alcohol in Illinois. I will cover all of the important beer laws from when and where you can get a beer to the legal limits.
Is Illinois a dry state?
Dry states are those that prohibit the manufacturing and selling of alcohol. The only time every state in the United States was dry was during Prohibition. Today, there are no dry states.
Illinois is not a dry state since it does not prohibit or heavily restrict the sale of alcohol. It does not have any dry counties, although the town of South Holland does not grant liquor licenses.
Counterintuitively, you can still buy alcohol in a dry area. All that an area must do to be considered dry is limit the sale to only a few options.
Does Illinois have any dry counties?
Many states allow their counties or small towns the power to become dry through voting. Illinois however, does not allow this. This means that all localities must follow the state’s wet status.
Illinois does not have any dry counties, and the state does not grant the counties the power to go dry.
However, some towns and counties get around this by not granting any liquor licenses. The town of South Holland is dry because of this.
When can you buy beer in Illinois?
While Illinois doesn’t allow localities to change their wet or dry status, they do allow a lot of freedom around when you can buy alcohol. The state does not set any particular hours when alcohol sales are illegal. Instead, it is up to the county.
In Illinois, you can buy beer from retailers like liquor stores from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Sunday. You can buy beer from bars between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. on Sunday.
These are the sale hours for Chicago. Retailers can also extend their closing time by two hours if they are granted an extended hours permit.
Counties outside Chicago may have very different hours within these restrictions.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Illinois?
You can buy beer on Sunday in Illinois. There is no hard restriction on Sunday sales, but alcohol retailers may open later than on other days.
On Sunday in Illinois you can buy beer between 8 a.m. and 2 a.m. from off-premise retailers (grocery and liquor stores). You can buy beer from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. from on-premise retailers (bars and restaurants).
When do bars close in Illinois?
Bars in Illinois will close at different times depending on where you are in the state. They are limited by the restrictions set for on-premise liquor licenses.
Illinois bars must close by 2 a.m. every day except for Saturday. On Saturday they can stay open until 3 a.m. Both of these closing times can be extended by 2 hours if the licensee has an extended hours permit.
Some bars may choose to close early for various reasons. It may be that the county has more restrictive closing hours than Chicago.
Where can you buy beer in Illinois?
Another aspect of alcohol laws that is useful to know is where you can buy beer and other beverages.
You can buy beer at these locations in Illinois:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each type of retailer has different regulations they must observe. Below I will go over each one’s closing times, types of alcohol sold, and other rules.
Bars and restaurants
In Illinois, bars and restaurants can serve beer between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. through 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. on Sunday. They can serve beer in cans, bottles, and on draft. Wine and liquor are also available at these locations. You can even buy beer to take home in the form of growlers.
Not all bars and restaurants will fill growlers. Be sure to ask ahead of time! Additionally, happy hours are legal in Illinois. Bars and restaurants can offer discounted alcoholic beverages for up to 15 hours a week divided by 4 hours a day.
Gas stations in Illinois can sell beer 7-2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7-3 a.m. on Saturday, and 8-2 a.m. on Sunday. All beer must be in original packaging and for off-premises consumption only. Gas stations can also sell wine.
Whether the gas station is open to selling alcohol until 2 a.m. is up to the gas station. Not all will be open that late.
Illinois grocery stores can sell beer, wine, and liquor 7-2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7-3 a.m. on Saturday, and 8-2 a.m. on Sunday.
All alcohol must be for off-premises consumption. Alcohol is sold in its original packaging.
Package and liquor stores
Liquor and package stores in Illinois can sell beer between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. on Sunday. They can also sell wine and liquor.
All purchases must be for off-premise consumption.
You can get tastings at liquor stores if they are offering samples.
Breweries and taprooms
Taprooms are not limited to the brewery’s beer. Most sales are for on-premise consumption, but they can sell growlers for off-premises use.
Breweries and taprooms in Illinois can sell beer between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Most breweries will not be open for as long as they are legally allowed to. Not to mention not all will fill growlers.
Can you get beer delivered in Illinois?
Alcohol deliveries are incredibly convenient. Luckily, they are legal in Illinois.
You can get beer delivered by third-party delivery companies as well as cocktails to go. There are a few rules, however:
- The alcohol can be delivered to the home of the customer or other location specified.
- Delivery must be received by an individual at least 21 years old.
- The delivery driver must be at least 21 years old.
What is the minimum drinking age in Illinois?
Since 1984, the minimum drinking age has been consistent across the United States.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Illinois.
There are some exceptions though not every state allows them.
Can minors drink beer in Illinois with parents?
One of the most common exceptions to the minimum drinking age is parental approval.
Minors can drink alcohol in Illinois if two things are true: the minor must be in the presence of their parents or guardians and they must be in a private residence.
This exception only applies to drinking alcohol. Minors are still not allowed to purchase alcohol.
Drinking laws in Illinois
Because Illinois leaves many aspects of its alcohol licenses up to localities, the overall drinking laws are quite complicated. What it makes quite clear are the laws surrounding alcohol and vehicles.
The drinking laws in Illinois are not much more strict than in other states. They are not particularly lax either.
When traveling through Illinois, be sure to check the differences in the abovementioned laws.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Illinois?
Growlers, or unsealed refillable beer jugs, are a great way to try a brewery’s beer. Some states do not allow growlers or have strange regulations on them.
Illinois allows bars, restaurants, and breweries to fill growlers for customers to drink at home. Growlers or crowlers can be up to a generous 128 ounces in Illinois.
Taprooms can fill growlers with their own beer or guest taps.
With growlers come extra reasons to know your state’s open container laws. The open container laws in Illinois are fairly strict.
In Illinois, it is illegal for the driver or passengers in a vehicle to possess an open container of alcohol. The open container must be in the trunk and out of all passengers’ reach.
The exception to this law is when the passengers are in a hired passenger vehicle such as a limousine or ride-share vehicle.
Drinking and driving is illegal in Illinois. This is doubly true for minors as drinking at all is illegal under the age of 21.
The penalties and legal limits are dependent on the age of the driver and the class of vehicle. In general commercial vehicles mean lower legal limits for the driver.
Under 21 years old
Illinois is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to minors and alcohol.
In Illinois, a driver under 21 years old is considered under the influence if their BAC is at or above 0.02%. The first DUI conviction can come with these penalties:
- Up to $2,500 fine
- Potential jail time up to a year
- Revoked driver’s license at least 2 years
21 years and older
The legal limit is higher for of-age drivers, but the penalties are still substantial.
In Illinois, a driver at least 21 years old is considered under the influence if their BAC is at or above 0.08%. The first DUI conviction can come with these penalties:
- Revoked driver’s license at least 1 year
- Jail time up to a year
- Up to $2,500 fine
Further convictions come with greater penalties.