"Literally, I've not sold a drink since March of 2020," said Nico Ortega, the general manager of Club Tee Gee in Atwater Village.
But today, the bars can start opening. A limited proportion of customers will be allowed to go indoors for a drink, and customers will be able to order alcohol without necessarily getting food.
Just like every other time restrictions have been lifted during this pandemic, though, we may not necessarily see big changes right away.
“We’re just going to chill for a bit and see how it goes for everybody else,” said Jeff Johnsen, owner of Walt’s Bar in Eagle Rock.
Walt’s has been closed for most of the last year, reopening only after late January when the County allowed outdoor dining again. Since then Walt’s has been offering outdoor service with restaurant pop-ups and a menu of bar food.
As of today, they will now be able to let customers sit inside - up to 25% capacity. But Johnsen said he’ll wait a week before he starts doing that, to see how other restaurants manage it.
Meanwhile in Echo Park, Bar Bandini, will not be waiting. Bandini’s owner, Jason Piggott, said he hopes to start letting people in at 25% capacity this week.
“I look forward to seeing the community back together,” Piggott said. “I know, speaking for myself, that I'll be more grateful and much more aware of the gifts of being around other people and socializing. I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment.”
Silverlake Lounge on Sunset also has plans to make use of the indoor space, according to co-owner Steven Acosta. The lounge has largely been quiet, except for a couple of weekends recently when they have selling pizza. Now they’ll have capacity for 28 people inside and 24 people outside.
But what the lounge won’t be doing quite yet is booking live music acts again, Acosta said.
“At 25% capacity, it doesn’t make sense fo live shows yet,” Acosta said. “Crossing our fingers for July.”
The lift on restrictions comes at a good time for Club Tee Gee, though. After having been closed for more than a year - since mid-March of 2020 - they're going to be ready just this Friday to reopen their their doors and present the new patio in the back parking lot, Ortega said.
"We were doing that even before we went into the yellow tier," Ortega said, "so now this is really nice that it's lining up about the same time."
Barbix in Silver Lake also plans to keep its outdoor dining, according to Claudio Blotta, the president & CEO of Barbrix Retail Wine Shop, Barbrix Restaurant, and ALL'ACQUA Restaurant.
But his view of the future seems bright.
“Los Angeles is doing better than other places and both customers and team members are vaccinated at a higher rate than any other place in America,” Blotta said. “Angelinos have been very responsible in following protocol.”