Pedal Pubs Permitted Without Permit Or Pub

When it comes to Naperville and liquor, there isn’t too much that city officials have seen that they didn’t like. Naperville and liquor are synonymous. So when a resident made a pitch to the Naperville Liquor Commission regarding a pedal pub (a tavern on wheels) it came as a bit of a surprise when the commission gave it a thumbs down by a unanimous vote. The resident was seeking approval for a bring-your-own-bottle permit. The concept has been approved in other cities including Nashville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Champaign.

The vehicle is an up to15-passenger bicycle-like vehicle with folks facing each other. The vehicle is powered by pedaling passengers with a back-up motor if necessary. It looks somewhat similar to a picnic table on wheels with a middle aisle, and individual seats or stools rather than a bench. Some would consider it a personal injury attorney’s dream, especially if a BYOB permit was allowed. No helmet, no seat belt, no harness. The faster you pedal, the faster you go. What could possible go wrong.

The liquor commission came up with a couple ideas of what could go wrong including overcrowding on downtown streets, passenger and pedestrian safety, and the ever-present over-consumption. Losing a couple of passengers during a right or left hand turn would be terrible if not tragic. Going in reverse to pick them up with reverse pedaling would require the ultimate in teamwork. Who knows, maybe Naperville could be recognized some day as the birth place for synchronized pedaling in reverse, while consuming an adult beverage, as an Olympic event.

The dismissal of the pub on wheels by the liquor commission did not dampen the enthusiasm by the resident, because plans are going forward to operate two or more vehicles in downtown Naperville without the BYOB concept, hence no liquor permit needed. Who needs alcohol when you can do birthday parties, graduation and prom parties, land AA meetings aboard the 15-seater.

The question remains, will the publess pub on wheels operate in the winter? Hot chocolate works. Maybe another Olympic event can be born in Naperville; snowball fights between pedestrians and passengers moving on alcohol-free pubs-on-wheels.

Show 4 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    Lets add Pot, Prostitution and Poker and make it a real winner. Our new motto could be anything goes in Naperville.

  2. John

    Remember , we are welcoming city . Anything is permissible .

  3. Julie Berkowicz

    Has City staff considered how quicky this vehicle could stop if a child or pedestrian ran in front of it? How much room does it need to navigate a right or left hand turn at a downtown intersection? While I was walking along Jefferson on a recent afternoon I imagined the pedal trolley passing on the street. I noticed the vehicles narrowly passing each other with parked vehicles on each side of the street. Does Council really think this is a good idea on these narrow streets? But I am sure we can have confidence that City staff and Council has done the necessary studies before approving this business venture in respect to the safety of the downtown population.

    • Jim Haselhorst

      Have you every actually since one of this thing in action? I have in several cities here in the US. I have never since one going more than around 5 mph and its turn radius is less then that of most cars. These things are not buses and are generally shorter than all but compact cars. If they present any safety problem it would be from moving to slow or turning to suddenly.

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