Sports bars get small boost as indoor dining opens in time for NFL playoffs

Food & Drink

DENVER (KDVR) — Restaurants are easing back into indoor dining after Level Red counties moved to Level Orange this week on Colorado’s COVID-19 dial. Sports bars are getting an extra boost thanks to the start of the NFL playoffs.

“We’re obviously way down from last year but we’re as full as we can be,” Amy Burgess said, general manager at Don’s Tavern in Denver.

Burgess says losing business around the holidays was a major blow at the end of an already crushing year for the industry. 

“That’s our biggest season. January is our slowest month normally but it’s something — it’s better than being closed,” Burgess said.

As a dedicated Kansas City Chiefs establishment, Don’s typically hosts at least 100 people for games. This year, the NFL playoffs will look different with the limited capacity.

“We basically have a line system outside where they wait six feet apart and it’s first come, first serve,” Burgess said. “The first 10 tables are all we have and those are the fans that will get to watch the game here.”

Elizabeth Bartholomew, a bartender at Milwaukee Street Tavern, says having people back inside for football games brings a sense of normalcy.

“Everyone has been really good about wearing their mask and making sure they’re keeping us safe, and we’re keeping them safe,” Bartholomew said.

She says overall, their customers were receptive to outdoor dining. But bringing them back indoors is both easier for their staff and better for business.

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