‘You Have to Have Food': Bars Adapting to New Business Model to Reopen Sooner

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The beers are back and so are the patrons at The Tam Bar in Boston's Theater District.

"It is a big deal," said bartender Lyn Grande. "You have to get the city back. We need people."

At first, it didn't look like the Tam could open until Phase 4, which is when bars in Massachusetts will be given the green light.

"I did get some unemployment," said Grande. "Thank goodness, but it's been difficult, very hard."

But the Tam has been able to get a food permit — it's now selling turkey sandwiches — and that qualifies it as a restaurant.

So it's back to business.

"You have to have food," said Grande. "We have sandwiches, freshly made every day."

The Massachusetts Restaurant Association says their advice to bars is to do the same thing.

"Apply for a food permit, put a very simple menu together, and offer your guests some hot dogs, some microwave pizza, some charcuterie and cheese," said Bob Luz, president of the association.

It's an option for bars that don't want to wait until Phase 4, which is not set to begin until there is a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

"Assign seating, follow the protocols of a normal restaurant," said Luz. "This is allowing a lot of these local establishments to get up and running by serving food."

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