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Dive bars bring light

Two gloves, a dustpan, a single-use broom, and a cleaning solution: In Chicago, this is what the Department of Health calls a vomiting and diarrhea cleaning kit. And until a disgusting regular by the name of Covid crept to the bar, Scott Martin, the owner of Simon’s, a beloved Scandinavian diver in north Windy City, thought a cleaning kit vomiting and diarrhea was the most extravagant thing he had to have. hand to keep its very old water point in the good graces of the government.

Suffice it to say he no longer feels that way.

While “dive bar” is mostly a term of affection these days, even the upper echelon of these dark, damp beverage establishments has never been seen as particularly concerned with sparkling table tops.

Dive bars are inhabited, dead in them, ridden hard and put away wet, laughing and crying in the arms of a stranger, both fully yourself and completely anonymous. This is where people go to drink, lie, love, sigh, put Keith Sweat on the jukebox and no one asks why.

Before the pandemic, dive bars were an endangered species in many cities, with skyrocketing rents and the concomitant hoity-toity-ness of gasping transplants. And some people speculated that the coronavirus would bring all the big dives down in dirt.

Yet if you think you know it, you don’t know dives. All over America they are trying to survive – by letting the light in (or out), for a change.

At Simon’s, Mr. Martin moved some of his bar stools in the parking lot and set them up on high tables. But it was summer; fall is now. He hopes to continue attracting customers by setting up a large tent with propane heat lamps and fleece blankets, but his real cold weather draw is glogg, a traditional Swedish preparation that contains red wine, cinnamon, sugar. sugar, cloves, oranges, ginger, raisins and bourbon or vodka (take your pick).

“You can stay outside and drink glogg and stay pretty comfortable – until you’ve got too many gloggs and you’re frozen,” said Mr. Martin, who hit his 60th birthday while wrestling with a bar customer who repeatedly refused to wear a mask.

While Simon’s was, until recently, able to offer limited indoor seating in addition to its evolving outdoor space, such a plan was simply not feasible for My Brother’s Bar, which at 167 years, is Denver’s oldest continuously operating libation house. .

“The building is extremely old with no ventilation,” said Danny Newman, the owner, adding that his “summer solution” – picnic tables in the parking lot – “was awesome.” But now that it’s colder, Newman has set up plastic igloos, fitted with heaters and exhaust fans, for one-person groups of up to six people.

At first there was no limit on how much time clients could spend in the igloos, but after a handful of six-hour suspension sessions it became evident that some imbibers were planning to use them as second homes, Mr. Newman instituted a 90-minute limit.

Mr Newman added that a nearby restaurant has transformed tiny greenhouses into two tops so that customers can eat outside without being bombarded by the elements. Lest anyone question whether Colorado’s strong legal marijuana industry has anything to do with the immediate availability of transparent structures reminiscent of grow houses, Newman said.

One of Seattle’s oldest bars, 5 Point – slogan: “Alcoholics Serving Alcoholics Since 1929” – has also provided a warm and heated outdoor space for its patrons. But now that the wind and rain are turning, owner David Meinert doesn’t expect the attraction to last long. That’s why it recently upgraded its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filters to improve air circulation.

With the help of Dr Bruce Davidson, pulmonologist and former president of the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association, he installed ventilators and UV-C lamps – not to be confused with UV-A and UV-B lamps which burn the retina. – on the ceiling of the bar.

As explained by Dr Davidson, who fell in love with this specific type of ultraviolet light when he observed its effectiveness in the Philadelphia TB wards, fans suck in the air that clients exhale directly toward the ceiling.

If any of those customers unknowingly had the coronavirus, UV-C lights keep it from spreading, thus protecting customers and staff. (Such lights are also used as protection against the coronavirus in hospitals, schools, restaurants, and subway systems, including that of New York.)

Yet, as confident as Dr Davidson is in the ability of UV-C lighting to kill the coronavirus, he remains a strong advocate of wearing a mask as a means of “source control.” As it turns out, Seattle has an indoor mask mandate, which Mr. Meinert’s employees are quick to enforce.

“One of the good things about 5 Point is that people have always been kicked out of here,” he said. “We’re not the ‘Customer is always right’ type.”

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