Tri-State bars and restaurant owners are hopeful for a brighter new year, but in the meantime, they’re still finding unique and creative ways to celebrate.
Before the clock struck midnight in Bellevue, not as many folks gathered along Fairfield Avenue as you might expect for New Year’s celebrations of the past. Still, bars on the Kentucky side of the river were able to remain open until midnight.
Charlie Zimmerman, the owner of Bellevue’s Three Spirits Tavern, said 2020 has packed a punch for local spots like his.
"Last year when we opened for New Year’s Eve, we were packed,” he said. “We had tons of people, shoulder to shoulder inside and outside. We knew this year would be a struggle for that because people want to social distance and stay at home.”
Three Spirits, along with Darkness Brewing, Danyelle’s Bellevue Tavern, Nomad and The Fairfield, teamed up to do a pub crawl down the city's main drag. Zimmerman knows there’s strength in numbers -- though in a pandemic, it’s at a distance.
"We think in our case it's better to be out here walking the street, keeping your distance, than it is to be packed inside your living room or home with 15 to 20 other people,” he said.
Jordan Norman, the owner of Queen City Radio across the river, said they’re bracing for a slower season.
"It's a lot more difficult for bars to survive throughout this,” Norman said. “COVID has made that increasingly difficult, especially with the 10 p.m. curfew."
This year, as many know, was not like most.
"This is the first year that everyone will have to be out the doors by 10 p.m. We decided to make up some arrangements,” he said.
That’s why the business pieced together party favors to take home for private celebrations.
"To allow people to come out, grab a bottle of booze, grab the supplies they need. Any sales or bits we can get we're always happy for,” he said.
It’s a step toward normal in a year that was anything but -- local businesses ready to implement their creative ideas.
"We hope that people come back and enjoy the food, the drinks, the fellowship,” Zimmerman said.