COLUMBUS (WCMH) – While there was a lot for Buckeye fans to celebrate after the first half of the Sugar Bowl, there was still some disappointment in Ohio bars.
The half ended right around 10 p.m. just as the state’s curfew went into effect. Bars and restaurants had to close, and fans were supposed to go home.
“Unfortunately, when something comes up where it’s a night start close to that curfew the only thing that will deter them from coming in is being forced to leave earlier than they would like,” said Carlos Domingo, Co-Owner of Barrel and Taps in Grandview.
That exact scenario seemed to play out at his bar on Friday night. The plan was to be open until 10, but only two patrons came in before the game. They also left before kickoff, so the bar closed early. If the bar had stayed open, Domingo estimates revenue would have been down anywhere from 55% to 70% from a normal big game night.
“Curfew has definitely had its own effects on the numbers,” he said.
The curfew has been in place since November so having to close at 10 p.m. is nothing new. However, owners and managers say having to close in the middle of a big game is even more frustrating.
“We were really hoping it wouldn’t affect us today but knowing that going into it, it’s still just been challenging trying to accommodate that,” said Sam Boyer, General Manager at Rudy’s.
Her plan was to enforce the curfew the same way the sports bar has been doing since November.
“We do a last call at 9:30, try to get everybody closed out by 9:45 so they can comfortably leave by 10. We have to push some people a little bit but for the most part people have been respecting that,” she said. “Most of our customers, the people that support us, it’s really not a problem for them, they respect it.”
Scenes around Columbus were much different than last season’s Ohio State game against Clemson.
Last season, fans surrounded the bar at Eddie George’s cheering on the Buckeyes during the playoff game. This season the bar and restaurant has signs up, saying it’s temporarily closed because of the pandemic.