Emily mavrakis

| The Gainesville Solar

First there was the governor’s obligatory shutdown. Then an avalanche of paperwork to be opened in a brand new house, a course of slowed down by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Midnight, as soon as a quaint neighborhood bar extra frequented by locals than the faculty crowd on the nook of Southeast Second Place and South Important Avenue in downtown Gainesville, has reopened after seven months out of service.

The bar was additionally renamed Midnight Underground, a nod to its new location within the basement suite at 101 SE Second Place, Suite 100.

The Midnight has been open in Gainesville since 2010, with present house owners Kenneth Brown and Ellie Baumgartner taking on about three years in the past.

Brown stated the lease for the pub’s unique location resulted in 2020 with no chance of renewal, so the restaurant was going to have to shut anyway to maneuver to its new residence close by. This was earlier than a world pandemic created a brand new actuality and restrictions.

“I anticipated to be closed for possibly every week,” he stated. “After all, it ended up being loads longer.”

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Governor Ron DeSantis demanded the closure of all bars on March 17, 2020, a blow that many homeowners have felt because of the reputation of bars and golf equipment on St. Patrick’s Day.

Nonetheless, when The Midnight was lastly capable of reopen in September – the primary time Florida allowed bars and breweries to reopen for on-site alcohol consumption, she needed to anticipate her allow and new license on the new location.

Many different bars in Gainesville remained open in the course of the bar ban as a result of they’d a meals license. They had been allowed to proceed working so long as lower than 50% of gross sales got here from alcohol.

Brown stated the method of reopening the paperwork was the rationale they opened in mid-February slightly than months earlier as deliberate.

The state licensing division was closed for a month and a half, he stated, as a result of a pc glitch. They ended up having to resend the Midnight Underground paperwork.

“All of it took loads longer due to COVID,” he stated. “In the meantime, cash continues to move out of our account whereas nothing is coming in.”

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Brown stated what saved him and Baumgartner going was the help they acquired from repeat prospects alongside the way in which.

The Midnight used to host comedy nights, a language trade meetup and extra. Most of those enjoyable gathering events cannot occur proper now.

Midnight Underground just lately launched its trivia nights, the place patrons sit at socially distant tables. Employees even have protocols in place to scrub tables every time folks go away. Though not obligatory, Midnight Underground maintains its occupancy charge at 50% in the interim and enforces the usage of masks.

“I can completely perceive why folks do not wish to eat out proper now,” Brown stated. “All we will do is make it as secure as attainable.”

The bar will quickly be reintroducing its “Comedy Cellar Tuesday” reveals, with a comic on stage and socially distanced tables occupied by presale folks. That means, Brown stated, he can maintain the place from getting too crowded.

“We actually wish to make sure how many individuals are in house,” he stated.

Midnight Underground was additionally capable of recruit three of its unique six workers. The remainder have moved in the course of the pandemic, Brown stated.

He was additionally capable of rent new folks, corresponding to a buddy who had been employed by the Racecourse and the Curtis M. Phillips Heart for the Performing Arts however out of labor for months.

Brown stated he hopes issues will roughly return to regular by fall, so long as sufficient individuals are vaccinated.

“That is what it would take to get again to regular,” he stated. “As many individuals as attainable must be vaccinated.”

Midnight Underground is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday to Monday.



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