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New York City bars, restaurants pursue adaptation to survive

Bartender Alex Wright takes a phone order for liquor on his cell phone while tending the bar behind a protective plastic barrier separating him from p...
Wine salesman Jeff Hansen, left, replaces the cork on a bottle of wine after pouring samples for Barbès retail manager Hanna Cheek, center, and owner ...
Barbès retail manager Hanna Cheek carries boxes to the curb after storing a wine shipment in the former music venue's now-idle performance space, Tues...
Bottles of organic and biodynamically-produced wine, whiskey and liquor line the shelves at Barbès, a popular neighborhood music venue and bar which w...
Bartender Alex Wright sanitizes a table before opening Barbès, a popular neighborhood music venue and bar converted to a bottle shop and mostly-outdoo...
Hanna Cheek clears space on a shelf while organizing storage for wine and liquor in the now-idle performance space at Barbès, a popular neighborhood m...
A band member, left, joins Olivier Conan, center, as the pair strum baglamas, stringed instruments from Greece and Turkey similar to lutes, outside th...
Bartender Alex Wright, left, reviews paperwork on a wine delivery at Barbès, a popular music venue and bar that has been converted to a bottle shop to...
Customer Koray Calistan, has a drink at Barbès, a popular neighborhood music venue and bar converted to a bottle shop to survive the winter during the...
Wade Hagenbart lifts plastic piping for a tent while building a winter shelter for patrons of Guero's, the popular taco and margarita restaurant he co...
Wade Hagenbart, right, lifts the top off a wooden support barrier for a tent he's constructing for outdoor dining Guero's, the tiny but popular taco a...
A pedestrian passes The Dram Shop bar, which is only open to private parties during the coronavirus pandemic in order to survive the winter, Tuesday, ...

Bartender Alex Wright takes a phone order for liquor on his cell phone while tending the bar behind a protective plastic barrier separating him from p...

Wine salesman Jeff Hansen, left, replaces the cork on a bottle of wine after pouring samples for Barbès retail manager Hanna Cheek, center, and owner ...

Barbès retail manager Hanna Cheek carries boxes to the curb after storing a wine shipment in the former music venue's now-idle performance space, Tues...

Bottles of organic and biodynamically-produced wine, whiskey and liquor line the shelves at Barbès, a popular neighborhood music venue and bar which w...

Bartender Alex Wright sanitizes a table before opening Barbès, a popular neighborhood music venue and bar converted to a bottle shop and mostly-outdoo...

Hanna Cheek clears space on a shelf while organizing storage for wine and liquor in the now-idle performance space at Barbès, a popular neighborhood m...

A band member, left, joins Olivier Conan, center, as the pair strum baglamas, stringed instruments from Greece and Turkey similar to lutes, outside th...

Bartender Alex Wright, left, reviews paperwork on a wine delivery at Barbès, a popular music venue and bar that has been converted to a bottle shop to...

Customer Koray Calistan, has a drink at Barbès, a popular neighborhood music venue and bar converted to a bottle shop to survive the winter during the...

Wade Hagenbart lifts plastic piping for a tent while building a winter shelter for patrons of Guero's, the popular taco and margarita restaurant he co...

Wade Hagenbart, right, lifts the top off a wooden support barrier for a tent he's constructing for outdoor dining Guero's, the tiny but popular taco a...

A pedestrian passes The Dram Shop bar, which is only open to private parties during the coronavirus pandemic in order to survive the winter, Tuesday, ...

NEW YORK (AP) — Olivier Conan didn't see how it was going to work, keeping Barbès, his Brooklyn bar/performance space, open through the pandemic when live performances and crowded spaces have been at the top of the DON'T list.

“The whole idea of this place is the opposite of social distancing. It was social proximity," he said.

So, Conan adapted — taking his approach of curating what he wanted to expose his customers to and turning it from music to wine.

The venue has recently turned into a bottle shop, focusing on small producers and wineries.

“Honestly, that’s what will keep this place surviving," he said.

He's not the only one, of course. The months of pandemic have meant nothing but change for the city's restaurant and bar owners, who have had to deal with limits to what kind of service they could offer, how many people could be inside when indoor dining was allowed to return, and how to adjust to the rise of outdoor dining.

That roller coaster of change is still continuing, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that indoor dining could be shut down as soon as Monday if coronavirus hospitalizations don't stabilize.

The industry has been hit hard, with closures and lost jobs.

Wade Hagenbart has closed down a restaurant he had just opened in late 2019, as well as Angry Wade, a Brooklyn bar he started 20 years ago, leaving him with his Gueros restaurant focusing on takeout.

“Everybody got hurt, there’s not one person who hasn't, from the landlord to the dishwasher, everybody is getting hurt by this pandemic," he said.

He was resigned to the turn of pandemic events.

“My attitude from the beginning was there's not much you can do about it, and if there's nothing you can do about it, you really can’t get too angry about it. You have to figure out what you can affect, how you can affect stuff and you work toward that," he said.

He was committed to his restaurant future, though, and said he was hoping to find good spaces for new restaurants when the pandemic has passed.


Updated : 2021-04-22 21:59 GMT+08:00