Tuscaloosa bar owner talks possible impact of ABC Board decision on bottom line

Bar owner reacts to new ABC restrictions

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Under new state guidelines, restaurants and bars cannot sell alcohol for on-premise consumption after 11 p.m. We spoke with a bar owner about the impact this could have on his bottom line.

Session bar in Tuscaloosa has been open for less than a year. Modern-classic cocktails, beer, and wine are just some of the things you’ll find on the menu. Owner Hunter Wiggins says a majority of his sales are from 9 p.m. to midnight most nights.

“From midnight to 2 a.m. we still have a great crowd on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights that really bolster a lot of what we do,” Wiggins said.

Some of that business may be in danger now that the ABC Board voted to restrict alcohol sales at 11 p.m. for all restaurants, bars and country clubs. The move is an effort to curb COVID-19 cases. It’s something Wiggins understands but he’s also looking at his bottom line.

“Cutting out those hours is essentially taking away our dinner shift that most restaurants get every night. So it’s a huge chunk of our sales and it’s going to force a lot of places to make very hard decisions,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins already furloughed some his staff during the pandemic. With Session not having a ton of regulars right now Wiggins is hoping for the best for his bar.

“We have a lot more unknowns involved in how we’re operating our business and we were just kind of getting started and finding our groove and everything kind of got ripped out from under us,” Wiggins said.

Over the weekend, Wiggins went through best- and worst-case scenarios in terms of this ruling impacting his staff. He’s hoping to keep them as long as possible, but he says the situation creates a lot of uncertainty moving forward.

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