Belly up to the bar
If there's no harm, there should be no foul.
Starting this Sunday and every Sunday thereafter, two neighborhood bars in Champaign will be allowed to open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. — just like every other day of the week.
The new hours, which were recently approved by city council members, represent a triumph of common sense. As long as the two bars continue to operate in the future as they have in the past — without problems disruptive to the neighborhood — there is no reason they should not be allowed this privilege.
Neighborhood bars like Huber's, 1312 W. Church St., and Neighbors at the Ice House, 703 N. Prospect Ave., harken back to an earlier time when there were more businesses in residential areas and zoning laws were less restrictive.
Even as the opening of new businesses has been restrictive, these two bars have continued to operate over the years because they were "grandfathered in," that is, allowed to stay because they were there before the rules were changed. We're a little skeptical of city officials' hopes that these kinds of businesses provide homogeneity that will tighten bonds among the neighborhood's residents. But it's a nice thought, one worthy of a celebratory toast, as are the new Sunday hours for these two neighborhood institutions.