Bars allowed to reopen in Kentucky on Monday


The next round of COVID-19-related reopenings on Monday will allow Kentuckians to hoist a cold one at local bars.

The challenge is difficult to say the least — how to impose social distancing in a bar, a place that is made for close, personal socializing.

“You know, what we’re really trying to balance is just the safety of both our employees and customers,” Hell Or High Water co-owner Stirling Welch said.


His upscale speakeasy on Whiskey Row is designed for intimacy in a closed space.

The bar has been closed for months and he wonders how many customers are willing to come back.

Welch is working on a cocktails-to-go menu to precede a soft opening on July 9. Only 50 people will be allowed in.

The normal line outside the door will have to be managed to ensure social distancing.

A Michigan-based website,, attracted national attention when it had experts rank the risks of catching COVID-19 during various activities. Going to a bar was at the top of the risk list.

At Taste Fine Wines and Bourbon in NuLu, preparations are underway in anticipation of Monday’s reopening. Surfaces will be disinfected regularly, and seating will accommodate social distancing.

“If we see groups of people that are coming together,” co-owner Mark Duffy said, “we haven’t really had to opportunity to do this yet, we would request that people keep a safe distance from each other. Especially if they are indoors.”

Retail liquor sales allowed Taste to stay open during the pandemic.

Owners said they hope allowing customers to return for a drink at the bar will bring a needed boost to the bottom line.

Download the Derby City Weekend App: Apple // Android

FOLLOW @DerbyCityWknd on social media: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter