Lexington bars, entertainment venues eagerly awaiting easing of restrictions

Posted at 10:08 AM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 10:10:54-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With the unofficial start of summer right around the corner, businesses in Lexington are gearing up for changes coming this summer.

Friday, May 28 marks the first day that the curfew for bars and restaurants in Kentucky will be lifted. Businesses that cater to fewer than 1,000 people can also raise their capacity to 75%.

"It's been tough," Paul Murphy, owner of Horse & Jockey, described the past year. "Losing the late night was a big thing."

On a hot Sunday afternoon, the patio outside Horse and Jockey was buzzing with customers. Murphy said business has been good, but lifting the curfew will be a game-changer.

"That's going to be a big help for every business around here because in the service industry a lot of people are working [late night]," Murphy explained. "They finish and they'll go for a drink afterwards. So we really haven't had that."

The owners of The Burl, a music venue in the Distillery District, are also excited to inch back to a "pre-pandemic normal."

"The music venues were crushed," Cannon Armstrong, co-owner of The Burl, said. "I mean, a lot of them didn't make it, so we're very lucky and very grateful to the community here in Lexington."

Last summer, The Burl converted its parking lot into space for outdoor concerts.

Armstrong said the changes have been embraced by concert-goers, but he expects that as restrictions are eased, there will be more efforts to hold concerts inside.

"We're coming up on five years old," Armstrong said. "We've built five years inside. We want to get back to doing that."