COLORADO SPRINGS — The night before Thanksgiving is typically a huge day for bar business, but not so much this year.
This day is usually big business for bar owner Ben Olson.
“They’re gonna cook all day tomorrow,” Olson said. “Cooking today with a lot of relatives, not gonna happen. They’re gonna go out. They’re gonna want to go out to restaurants and bars…. You couldn’t find an empty spot at this time last year.”
But inside his bar, ‘the Pub,’ you’d find a different sight Wednesday.’
“It’s like, four people,” Olson said.
There are empty chairs, an unused pool table and a dark stage.
“We have down times but this isn’t like a normal one,” he said. “You’ll waste a lot of overhead during those slow times, but then you’re guaranteed those times later… like mother’s day, Father’s day.”
Then there’s what might be the biggest bar day of them all.
“Black Friday is the most… the busiest day,” he said. “I worked for corporate restaurants and we did $100,000 on Black Friday by itself.”
But not this Black Friday.
“People are gonna go shop and those places will be allowed to be open, but we’re not,” Olson said.
El Paso County enters level red at 5 p.m. on Friday, which bans indoor dining.
“Disappointment for sure.” Olson said. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Owned different businesses. My grandparents owned businesses, so I grew up as a kid like, working for the family business. I have kids, and they work for the family business.”
A family business that needs all the customers it can get.
“No one’s here,” he said. “But then we have an In-N-Out that opens, and nothing against anybody, but we have an In-N-Out opens--national name, and it’s packed. And the people that are dying right now are local places.”
Olson said he wants people to know, most places people think of as just bars often also serve food and are open for takeout as well.
He said he’s gotten several calls from customers checking to see if his bar was open, just assuming they’d be closed. but that is certainly not the case.