NewsCovering Colorado


FOLLOWING UP: Local bar still concerned for future, even with last call pushed back

One bartender is making 70% less in tips
Posted at 11:45 PM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 14:06:43-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Last month, News 5 introduced you to a longtime bartender at Rileas's Pub in Colorado Springs. At that time, she spoke about how the bar, which has been in the same family for decades, is barely staying afloat due due COVID-19 limitations. That was the same time the 10 p.m. last call order took effect.

And now, it's more than just the bar's owners who are feeling it in the pocketbook.

"[Business] has been about the same," Bartender Nancy Nelson said. "Some people did see us on your newscast and came by to offer support."

But making ends meet still isn't any easier since last call was pushed back to 10 p.m.
"There are definitely still concerns," Nelson said.

For night bartender Niki Haynes, the news that last call can now last until 11 p.m. comes with mixed feelings.

"It's dead. It's dead," Haynes said. "I'm hoping it'll help a little bit but I don't see it helping that much... it's just another hour."

Depending on tips for her livelihood, she needs to work all the hours she can.
"My income from tips has dropped 70 percent. Big time." Haynes said.

"In my opinion, this all came about because of the dance hall bars where they just pack in shoulder to shoulder," regular customer Dave Strohm said.

Strohm has been coming to the bar since he worked as a construction worker at a nearby apartment complex in 1985.

Regulars like him and staff wish the regulations were applied on more of a case by case basis.

"And for them to give the same rules for a small bar like this," Strohm said. "It just makes no sense to me at all."

"Even if we had to close at 11, if we could play pool or darts, even that would help," Haynes said.

For bars like Rilea's, it could mean the difference between keeping the doors open, or shutting them for good.

"I'm terrified that that's a possibility," Haynes said. "This place has been in the Rilea family for 38 years. And it means a lot to everybody."