Oops. Sorry about that misleading headline. It should have read “Open Bars” rather than “Open Bar.” Those who enjoy the occasional adult beverage know the difference.
Recent conversations, out on the street, have touched on the hours that our pubs and restaurants are open, particularly since the pandemic. Many of our favorite spots found it necessary to shorten their hours, often due to staff shortages, but also due to dwindling late-night business as well.
Which got me to wondering… will these local businesses ever return to what used to be normal hours around here? Will the anticipated rush from summer traffic be the impetus to return to a time when they were open past sunset?
I reached out to a number of local businesses to find out what their plans are and here’s a sampling of what I found…
Stucko’s- Prior to the pandemic Stucko’s was open until 1am and they were open 7 days a week. Now they’re closed on Tuesdays in a cooperative arrangement with Vango’s, which is closed on Mondays. According to Sonia Stucko, they’re going to be open until 10 this summer, on the 6 days they’re open. Staff shortages were a factor in reducing their hours, but they’ve found that being closed one day a week, even with adequate personnel, gives everyone a well-deserved break.
Blackrocks- No changes here. They’re open until 11 every night and they expect to have a very busy summer, both inside and out. They’ve come a long way from when they opened 10 or so years ago with a serving area little more than the living room it used to be.
The Delft Bistro- Their hours are the same as before the pandemic but they’ve been able to add Mondays to their schedule. Current closing time is 8pm but they plan on extending that an hour for the summer.
Breakers Roadhouse- This increasingly popular bar on Baraga Avenue shortened their hours during the days of Covid, but they’re back to their original schedule… open until 2am every day but Sunday, when they close at midnight.
Ore Dock- After having finally cleaned up following another hella successful Festival of the Angry Bear, Kris from the Ore Dock tells me, “We are blessed with a full staff and have resumed normal hours of operation.” That means they’re open until 11 nightly, until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Iron Bay Restaurant and Drinkery– No staff problems but they did cut back hours subsequent to the pandemic. Plans are still in the works for summer hours… possibly open until 10, 7 days a week. And like most other participating businesses, the Iron Bay folks are looking forward to the new Social District. “We’re eager to see how it changes the dynamic at the bar and in town.”
Drifa- This SoMa watering hole, which opened its doors just prior to the pandemic, is planning on staying open until 11 every night this summer. No problems with staffing as a lot of Gen-Z types like working at the brew pubs, and Drifa is no exception.
However, all is not clear sailing at this bar by the bay. Their expanded outdoor seating area, more popular now with the power plant no longer looming large, is in danger of contraction. Apparently they don’t have enough parking to accommodate that much seating, and though they, like many others, were given a pass during the pandemic, the city may decide to call them on it and force an outdoor downsizing.
Which brings about a paradox of sorts. According to Drifa management, many of their patrons bike or walk to end up there. They’ve even gone so far as to add bike racks to facilitate all the two-wheelers.
For a city that’s trying to encourage non-motorized mobility, one would think a little flexibility might be in order. Plus, Drifa is right on the bike path!
That brings to mind a situation quite a few years ago when local businessman Don Potvin opened a bar-restaurant called Father’s and Little Italia on the corner of North Third and Magnetic, where the bike shop is now. The city said he needed more parking, so, unwilling or unable to do that, he added a tag line and called his establishment a “Pedestrian Bar.” I don’t think it worked, but I thought it was a clever attempt.
Don’t blame city staff. They’re charged with enforcing city ordinances, as they’re written. So that “flexibility” I suggested previously might not fly, for good reason. It might be time to consider some changes to the rule book that better reflect our new social dynamic, and what it takes to help our local businesses survive and thrive.
More less hours…
And now I see that Tadych’s Marketplace Foods will be closing at 11, after years of being open 24 hours. Walmart, who was usually good for this kind of stuff, is no longer a 24 hour operation. A cursory search found only the Holiday Gas Stations open around the clock. So at least you can still get your Slim Jim and a Twinkie.
In the immortal words of Vince Lombardi… “What the hell’s going on out here?” You’d think we’d be going more in the direction of a 24-hour society, but that’s not what’s happening. What’s next… Closed on Sundays?
Word to the wise, and hungry… before you head out for that late night bite… or shopping trip, call ahead to make sure your preferred destination is still open.
Along with 9-11, the pandemic changed a lot of things about our everyday lives. Some for the better… many, however, not so much.
Did you see this?
Compliments of VAST, the Marquette Regional History Center is offering a FREE ADMISSION SATURDAY, tomorrow, April 29th, from 10 to 3. This is a great chance for you to see the center for the first time, or to visit again to see what’s new! Thanks VAST!