New Years Eve Prep

Chris Owens, bar manager at JoJo’s Restaurant and Taphouse on Patrick Street, holds a cinnamon bark holiday cocktail Wednesday afternoon. He said the scene at JoJo’s for New Year’s Eve is likely to be much smaller this year. JoJo’s will have special menus for takeout or dine-in to try to keep a reason to celebrate.

Jackie Ade is used to handing out sparkling wine at Brewer’s Alley as the countdown to the New Year begins. But this year, the bar and restaurant will be empty long before Frederick rings in 2021.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s order that all restaurants and bars close by 10 p.m. has hindered these establishments since mid-November, but its effects will be even more evident on New Year’s Eve. Ade said Brewer’s Alley, located on Market Street, usually has a line out the door to get in up until midnight. This year, with capacity restrictions in place and the early closing, she’s just hoping to see some friendly faces.

“We’re going to try to celebrate, but … unfortunately everyone has to be out by 10 p.m,” Ade, a manager at the eatery, said.

The New Year’s Eve Key Drop by the Frederick Civitan Club on Carroll Creek has also been canceled this year.

Chris Owens, a bar manager at JoJo’s Restaurant and Taphouse on Patrick Street, said the scene at JoJo’s is likely to be much smaller this year. In a normal year, New Year’s Eve can bring in between $19,000 and $27,000. This year, the restaurant is aiming for $7,000.

“Most people, I assume, are just going to go to house parties and such,” Owens said.

For Owens, it doesn’t make sense to go out to a bar if you have to leave before the ball drops. The crowd he’s expecting is more likely to be getting dinner before going home to celebrate.

Like other restaurants in the area, Brewer’s Alley and JoJo’s will have special New Year’s Eve menus for takeout or dine-in to try to keep a reason to celebrate. Other restaurants, like Thacher & Rye and Born & Raised, are focusing on New Year’s Day brunches instead.

“Both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were always busy days [at Family Meal], and we expect them to be busy days this time,” said Dennis Hoffman, owner of Born & Raised. “We have plenty of heated seating on our outdoor patio as well as indoors.”

Most restaurants will still be open, but managers such as Ade expect it to be pretty much like any weekend night during the restrictions.

“We will have our rooftop open, but it still has to be closed by 10,” Ade said. “And we can’t have everyone mingling … no bar seating at all.”

Across the street, Bushwaller’s will most likely look similar. Manager and bartender Amanda Mayers said the 10 p.m. closing time has significantly impacted business at the pub. The bar was usually still getting customers until about midnight before the executive order, but it was closing before its usual 2 a.m. time on the weekend.

Still, Mayers said she trusts the governor’s decision.

“I do appreciate the hard work that everybody’s putting in to try to make sure everybody is staying as healthy and happy as they can,” Mayers said.

Wade Newman, owner of Shuckin’ Shack on South Market Street, estimates he’s lost about 40 to 50 percent of his business due to the 10 p.m. closures. The bar usually stays open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.

“I wish we could go back starting tomorrow and be open until 12 o’clock or 1, 2 o’clock in the morning,” Newman said. “... “Hopefully it does [change], but I don’t think they’re going to be making any changes anytime soon.”

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(11) comments




"Still, Mayers said she trusts the governor’s decision." What do you know. There really are mature, reasonable people in the U.S.




so everyone will go to house parties instead, where 70% of COVID transmissions occur, instead of restaurants, where 1% occur. Brilliant, guv.




I wonder how the virus gets into those houses. Where does it come from?


Your statement is overly simplistic and is not a valid analysis. However, maybe, just maybe everyone should stay home. If everyone had done it for two weeks early on and if we had better restriction on travel, we would not be in nearly as bad a mess as we're in now, especially if 40+ percent say they will not get vaccinated. Unless one is going to stay home or has a medical condition one should get vaccinated. If one doesn't get vaccinated, insurance companies should up ones premium if they catch the virus and need treatment.




Unfortunately you are correct about the house parties, Kville. Our governor has exhibited fine leadership and he can only do so much when citizens do not take it upon themselves to do the right thing. Great Britain is in a near total shut down right now and I will not be surprised if we are not shut down in the next month. See how you like it then.



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