‘Last call’ for bars lasting longer than owners hoped

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Bar owners are in limbo right now, waiting on the official go-ahead to open up.

For some local spots, they’ve had almost two months of no revenue.

The Broken Tap and The Iron Horse Pub in downtown Wichita Falls are awaiting a date for when they can open and what guidelines they’ll have to put in place.

The owners said it’s been tough, but both are ready for it to be their turn to welcome customers back.

An empty performer line-up marquee hangs at Iron Horse Pub. It’s a marquee that’s been full of performers for almost 20 years.

“It’s been pretty quiet,” The Iron Horse Pub co-owner John Dickinson said. “I don’t know if it’s true or not but it feels like we were the first ones to shut down, we’ll be the last ones to open up.”

The Iron Horse Pub’s licensing doesn’t allow for to-go sales, essentially shutting them down since late March.

The Broken Tap does curbside three days a week, but it’s nothing compared to what owner Stacy Hawkins is used to.

“I would say we’re probably bringing in about 10% of our normal sales,” Hawkins said. “Yeah, it’s not great.”

Both owners are still wondering what restrictions the state will hand down, such as if there will be a cap on capacity and what that percentage looks like. Either way, they’ve each got a game plan.

“We’re gonna have to be cleaning on a regular schedule and have staff wearing masks and gloves and all that and just see what we can do,” Dickinson said.

“We will probably have to space out the tables maybe do every other table, the barstools we’ll probably have to do two up, two down to keep distance in between,” Hawkins said. “One way or another, we’ll make it work.”

A last call these owners didn’t think would last this long.

“We’ve lost a lot of money, we have, but you know we’ve been here 20 years, we’ll come back,” Dickinson said.

“We can’t wait to have people in here again and not just to see their pictures and posts on social media,” Hawkins said.

Now, these owners sit and wait for the moment their customers start pouring back in.

Hawkins said they’ve even considered having reservations, or putting a time limit on patrons to make sure everyone gets a chance inside.

Dickinson plans to come back with a skeleton crew at first and condensed hours.

Both said this has been especially hard because of the cancellation of events like the Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Cajun Fest.

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