Chicago Summer Survival Guide: Drinking on the Beach

Is it legal to sneak a few beers on the beach in Chicago?

Try to keep it somewhat discrete

Well, technically, dinking alcohol on the beach counts as drinking in public. But shouldn’t we bend the rules for the sake of enjoying a cold one on the beach? Sure, there’s dozens of places by the lakefront to grab a legal beer, but nothin beats a home-packed cooler.

Here’s some tips and pointers on how to enjoy a few cold ones at North Ave, Oak St, Fullerton, Montrose, or any of the beaches in Chicago without getting caught:

  1. Don’t bee too obvious. Whether or not the can is wrapped in a beer koozie, its still obviously a beer, but at least it gives off that ‘I’m-trying-to-be-discrete-about-it’ vibe that lifeguards and lazy cops can turn a blind eye.
  2. Keep on the lookout. You’re probably not the only one on the beach with a cooler stuffed with booze. Have a canary in the area. Try to position yourselves near, but not too close, to the beachgoers who are not being so discrete, if they look underage that’s even better… they’re going to be the primary target if a cop or lifeguard rolls by, downgrading you to a threat-level yellow.
  3. Pick up your shit. One of the main reasons day-drinking on the beach is illegal is because the place would just get trashed with empty cans and broken glass.

Why is this illegal?

Really, I wish there was some sort of pass or license we could buy to say we would drink responsibly on a public beach and clean up after ourselves. But for some reason, there’s not. I don’t know why… Hell, I’d probably pay like $100 bucks for a pass like that. I mean, that would be some easy revenue for the cash-strapped city of Chicago. Can someone get on that? Can we turn public drinking tickets into public drinking passes for the parks and beaches?
But either way, when it comes down to it, a public drinking ticket is going to run you about $100, so I’d say it’s a fair risk to run. Cheers.


cover photo:

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