Bar, restaurant owners hope staying open later brings more 'normalcy'

Bars, restaurants prepare for extended opening hours
Posted at 11:38 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 09:44:51-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For restaurant and bar goers a night out won't have to end until midnight. Customers will also be allowed to enter until 11 p.m. beginning Monday.

"What the hour does for us -- it allows us to afford this new property tax hike, maybe a little bit of that, but more importantly what it allows us to do is hire more people and bring more of our employees back to work," said Operating Partner of Nashville Underground, Joshua Pemberton.

Until now, that curfew was 11 p.m. and no one was allowed in after 10 p.m.

Pemberton said while most locals understand, tourists who flock to Broadway do not. "When we're explaining to tourists that we can't let them in at ten o'clock, they're [saying] 'Are you kidding me?' and so that's been a struggle."

Across town at Neighbors, co-owner Zach Piller said the business had to transition more to a restaurant in order to adapt to the constant changes. "We have noticed that people's... the way they go out is different. They start earlier because they know they have to leave earlier," he said.

The business closed for seven months after it was hit by last year's tornado. The pandemic added a one-two punch.

"You don't open up a business to say 'hey man I want 50% capacity'. You open up a business so you can be profitable and make money, and you put a lot of risk into opening up a business and we put a lot of risk into it and we're waiting for the reward," said Piller.

For businesses struggling to rebound, every little change helps.

"Maybe by the end of 2021 we'll get some normalcy back into our lives," said Piller.

Establishments that don't serve alcohol can continue with regular hours of operation. Capacity rules will stay the same, and customers must continue to social distance and wear masks.