Wichita Falls bars prepare for New Year’s Eve

Some businesses in Wichita Falls expect to have an influx of people this year while others expect the exact opposite.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 7:13 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - With less than three days away from New Year’s, many people and businesses are preparing to ring in the new year, including some local bars.

Some businesses in Wichita Falls expect to have an influx of people this year while others expect the exact opposite.

Some people like to stay home and host their own parties and others like to celebrate with the community. Bar owners talked about what prompted their decisions to either close or open for the holiday.

New Year’s Eve is a night that has brought a lot of business to bars across the nation but that all changed two years ago.

“We were packed on New Year’s Eve, we loved New Year’s Eve. It was exciting it was fun. COVID killed that, unfortunately,” Kim Stevens, owner of Our Place Eatery and Spirits, said.

While some bars are fully recovered from the negative impacts of the pandemic, others are waiting to see an increase in customers before deciding to open on New Year’s Eve. Stevens said she believes she made the right decision last year.

“We tried, we thought about opening but too many people were like ‘no we’re going to stay home.’ People have transformed their home and their patios and garages into their party places these days. It’s cheaper and safer, they can spend the night,” Stevens said. “Especially last year after talking to the beer companies when they come to re-up they said ‘good job, bars were slow.’”

Stevens does plan to open on New Year’s Day and has made minor adjustments but not nearly as many preparations as years prior.

“You have to make a decision ‘hey do I want to blow my wad here at the end of the year and gamble and come out with all this booze’ and you know it’s just a mess. We gambled and said ‘stay closed again this year’,” Stevens said.

In Downtown Wichita Falls, bars like Broken Tap expect to see pre-pandemic numbers this year and are fully prepared for the holiday.

“On a normal weekend night, we have two bartenders in the front and the bar back and security. This night we will have two bartenders, somebody out actually doing table service, two security and two bartenders in the back so fully staffed, people everywhere,” Stacy Hawkins, Broken Tap owner said.

On top of preparing for business with staffing and ordering extra alcohol, they have also prepared for their customer’s safety.

“We have a business account where we offer Lyft rides we also do capacity through the person at the front door they’ll be the ones checking IDs, collecting money, and making sure we’re not going past capacity and we also make sure that people are not too intoxicated before they get in their cars and drive home,” Hawkins said.

Stevens said people are allowed to leave their cars in the parking lot and assured vehicles will not be towed as long as they are parked next to the building, just in case anyone gets intoxicated and is unable to drive.