DENVER (CBS4) – Bar Max in Denver is now open after being closed for the majority of the pandemic. Patrons can only enjoy a cocktail inside if they provide proof of the vaccination. Owner Marshall Smith reopened the bar last Friday after he had been fully vaccinated.
“We are not refusing to serve anyone. We still have take-away options, we still have the pitch, what we’re talking about is sit down and enjoy a cocktail, we ask you to get a vaccination, ”Smith said. “To stay in a position where I don’t have to decide, ‘Am I risking someone sick and possibly dying to pay my bills?’ That was a huge relief. ”
Smith bought the bar in September 2019 just before the pandemic started. Due to COVID-19, he has reduced sales by 80%, but maintains his business through take-away options, take-out cocktails and miniature cocktail classes.
“I have old parents who are also concerned about their health. I have a brother that I am the caregiver for. I have other latent health conditions too, so for me as I move into February, I’m no longer ready to risk COVID because I’ve gone too far, ”Smith said. “The people who really went nowhere in the past year, the immunocompromised people, the front lines in healthcare, the educators, the people who were most exposed and impacted, They came specially and said to me, ‘This is the first time we feel safe. Coming in over a year, and we appreciate that. ‘People who have had a negative reaction have never been to this bar, and it seems other bars might be better options for them. “
Sara Grossman says this rule is not only to relieve customers but also employees. She handles marketing for Bar Max and has dealt with some backlash.
“We have received a lot of one-star and negative reviews on both Google and Yelp in the past week and a half since we announced our official reopening and, in my opinion, a lot of people have Our reviews than stopped at the bar, so I am in the process of finding a way to get rid of those fake reviews, ”said Grossman.
Although the policy was controversial, the owner said it was his intention to keep the community safe.
“I am not an essential service. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t come, ”Smith said.
Currently, Bar Max is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings. The bar is still following Denver’s indoor eating guidelines, including masking in the home and away from society.