The One Clever Trick Your Local Bar May Be Using to Stay in Business
If you really want a cold beer or an exotic cocktail at your local pub, you might also need to order a single cheese puff, too—all because of the coronavirus. Yep, as bizarre as that may sound, it's because of new regulations in many states that require eating establishments to serve food in order to remain open during the pandemic. So, bars that previously only ever served beer, wine, or alcohol are getting creative by offering the bare-minimum in foodservice.
Take, for example, Lafayette Brewing Company in Buffalo, NY, which recently revealed its teeny-tiny, pandemic-specific menu that features the "Smallest Piece of Cheesecake in Buffalo," "9 French Fries," and "a piece of meat," each sold for only one dollar:
Cuomo said bars could only stay open if they served food.
Here is a menu from a bar upstate. pic.twitter.com/eWwlohvDvf
— not usually an ACAB kind of guy but jeez (@Maxtropolitan) July 18, 2020
The Burton Bar in Allegheny, New York has a similar approach, but at slightly higher prices—selling items like "Chips & Dip" or a "Persoanl Cheese/Pepperoni/Cracker Plate" for $1.50:
During these crazy times we are doing our best to make things low cost, tasty, and convenient for our customers. Stop in and give our new appetizer menu a try if you're not hungry enough for a full meal! pic.twitter.com/5YfAVl2r5D
— The Burton (@TheBurton_Bar) July 22, 2020
And, an unnamed bar in Pittsburgh appears to have the cheapest single food option, in its "Here for the Beer" menu. Patrons can legally drink at the establishment if they also order "One Cheese Puff Ball" for five cents:
Not sure which bar in the Pittsburgh area did this, but you win menu of the year 🤣👌🏼 pic.twitter.com/o9ah9KNGoi
— Kristen 🎧🎶🎤 (@OnAirKristen) July 22, 2020
It may be a clever trick, and a critical one to save businesses, but some public health officials question if it's a responsible one. The regulation that establishments must serve food was implemented as a way to discourage crowded bars and binge drinking, especially considering bars seem to be a place where COVID-19 is most easily being spread. (Recent evidence shows that one of the most dangerous places to contract the coronavirus are crowded and poorly ventilated indoor locations.)
Many experts have been pushing for bars, in particular, to close in the states where COVID-19 cases are spiking. The nation's top immunologist Anthony Fauci, MD, has repeatedly called for bars to shut down, especially in coronavirus hotspots. And Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House's coronavirus testing czar, also recently advised that states should "close bars in those hot areas." But, for now, as long as they're serving the most bite-sized of food, they've found a loophole to stay open.
For more, check out these 10 Beloved Food Court Eats That are Vanishing Along With Malls.