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 area, 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 Principal Road 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 homeowners Kenneth Brown and Ellie Baumgartner taking up about three years in the past.

Brown mentioned the lease for the pub’s authentic 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 mentioned. “After all, it ended up being so much 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 as a result of recognition of bars and golf equipment on St. Patrick’s Day.

Nonetheless, when The Midnight was lastly in a position to reopen in September – the primary time Florida allowed bars and breweries to reopen for on-site alcohol consumption, she needed to look ahead to 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 mentioned 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 mentioned, resulting from a pc glitch. They ended up having to resend the Midnight Underground paperwork.

“All of it took so much longer due to COVID,” he mentioned. “In the meantime, cash continues to movement out of our account whereas nothing is coming in.”

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Brown mentioned what saved him and Baumgartner going was the assist they obtained from repeat clients 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 lately launched its trivia nights, the place patrons sit at socially distant tables. Workers even have protocols in place to wash tables every time individuals go away. Though not obligatory, Midnight Underground maintains its occupancy charge at 50% in the meanwhile and enforces using masks.

“I can completely perceive why individuals do not wish to eat out proper now,” Brown mentioned. “All we are able to do is make it as secure as potential.”

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

“We actually wish to be certain how many individuals are in area,” he mentioned.

Midnight Underground was additionally in a position to recruit three of its authentic six employees. The remaining have moved in the course of the pandemic, Brown mentioned.

He was additionally in a position to rent new individuals, comparable to a good friend who had been employed by the Racecourse and the Curtis M. Phillips Middle for the Performing Arts however out of labor for months.

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

“That is what it’ll take to get again to regular,” he mentioned. “As many individuals as potential ought to 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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