West 6th Brewing and Whiskey Bear say it was worth the wait to reopen

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two Lexington bars reopen Monday, following Governor Andy Beshear’s guidance.

You might have noticed other bars have chosen to open early and serve food to qualify under restaurant reopening guidelines.

Whiskey Bear and West 6th Brewing both decided to wait.

Daniel and Flo Marlowe own Whiskey Bear at The Summit. A bar they say is built on connecting with the customers.

“Just pure excitement, right now to be honest. I think after 15 weeks of, you know, not twiddling thumbs, but trying to figure out what’s gonna look like to reopen. Clearly we are not out of the woods yet with a pandemic, but just to be able to get back and see people and connect is so exciting,” Daniel Marlowe said.

Customers were there at the door right when Whiskey Bear opened at 4 p.m.

“When Flo and Daniel posted their grand reopening and we think so much of their family  that we wanted to be among the first in the door when they opened up just to show our support for them and for small businesses,” Jeff Koonce said.

Another customer said she wasn’t ready to sit inside, but with Whiskey Bear’s expanded patio seating she felt more comfortable.

“It’s great to be back here. This was our favorite local place before everything happened in March and so we were excited to come back out and support them,” Jana Fields said.

Some changes include the now familiar tape marking six feet, sanitation stations and no seating at bar stools. 

Health experts have encouraged outdoor seating if you’re going to head back out.

One study in Japan says the risk of infection indoors is almost 19 times higher than outside. Making a crowded bar a recipe for infection.

Marlowe says thankfully, Whiskey Bear already had pandemic-friendly features.

“Folks don’t actually have to come inside the space if they don’t want to,” he said. “They can just walk right up to our walk-up window and order there, and then take a drink and either sit on the patio or walk around with them as they go.”

Across Lexington at West 6th Brewing, it’s following a similar outdoor approach closing it’s bar seating too.

“We’ve been focused on sanitization, creating distance and having some fresh air flow for wherever you’re seated here,” Kelly Hieronymus, marketing director for West 6th said.

A mixture James Bilan and Emily reynolds says made them feel comfortable to come back. That, and the good beer.

“I love the new changes they’ve made out here with the tables and everything,” Reynolds said.

“I think part of the fun is just getting out after being inside for so long, you just kinda get stir crazy a little bit and getting back to the mild routine of daily life and what it was before the coronavirus, COVID-19 hit. Get that taste of normalcy,” Bilan said.

Normalcy, six feet apart.

Other Lexington bars expect to make their grand reopening this week too, but many choosing to wait until closer to the weekend.

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