CHEVIOT, Ohio — St. Patrick’s Day spelled good luck and cheer for bars across the Tri-State Wednesday night, little more than a year after many were forced to close their doors. In Cheviot, the new designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) is giving businesses another boost.
The new designation essentially allows bars big and small to expand their capacity by letting customers take their drinks outside. The new DORA operates Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight. On weekends, things get started at noon.
Inside Cheviot’s favorite watering holes, like Game Time Sports Bar & Grill, hope is on tap.
“I'm so excited to have all this crowd and everything,” said general manager Kayla Robbins.
All that excitement bubbling over is due in large part to the brand new DORA, forming just in time for one of the biggest nights for bars all year: St. Patrick's Day.
“It's been great honestly, and we're really -- with missing out last year -- hoping for this big crowd because we missed out so much last year,” Robbins said.
Measures taken in the early days of the pandemic closed bars across the state. A liquor buyback option helped recoup some costs, but statewide mandates and a series of other restrictions were tough to swallow. Rootie’s owner Victor Vidas said Ohio’s curfew was especially tough on his sports bar.
“Closing for three months and then 10 o'clock curfew, 11 o'clock curfew. Small bars like myself, we don't get busy until 10 o'clock,” Vidas said.
Vidas, who has owned Rooties for 20 years, said his bar and his neighbors are now seeing more customer crossover. With the DORA, he's hoping 2021 will be the luckiest year yet.
“We've got a lot of character here,” he said. “It's a neighborhood. It's a good neighborhood. It's very affordable and it's good people just having fun.”
Other communities have seen businesses succeed in DORAs and entertainment districts, including Hamilton, Milford, Wyoming and Bellevue, Kentucky. Later this month, an 85-acre open-container district will open at The Banks.