Nightlife in Charleston working to make a safe return

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With restrictions on restaurants and close contact businesses eased, nightlife and Sunday staples are eager to get their customers back in a safe manner.

When news of the shutdown first hit, Keith Benjamin, the Owner of Uptown Social, explained that he—like many others along King Street did not know what to do with his bar.  

Some folks around town very successfully started doing take-out, really, it just wasn’t the right time for us. We wanted to make sure obviously it was safe enough to go about opening our doors again and I think the folks that did it, did a phenomenal job doing it, but I think we just wanted to kind of wanted to wait it out.  

Keith Benjamin, Owner of Uptown Social 

Benjamin said when they did eventually roll out some take-out options, it was only for one weekend before the Governor’s orders allowed them to re-open what they call, Uptown Social 2.0. 

It’s certainly not the Uptown Social we all knew right before the shutdown but working up to hopefully the point where we can go back to that version of ourselves. 

Keith Benjamin, Owner of Uptown Social 

That new version of Uptown Social will be a calmer and more controlled environment that will have below the 50% occupancy levels. The bar said they will focus primarily on their food, service, and some light acoustic music.  

Benjamin said come Wednesday, there will be a QR code where patrons can sit down at the table, zap into the QR code, and see both their menu and sanitation practices. 

Some of those practices are constant hand-washing, masks being worn by all employees, and temperature checks. 

As for the long lines that typically run along King Street, Benjamin said last weekend they discouraged waiting by taking down numbers and asking patrons to go for a walk in the meantime, alerting them when their table or seat was available. 

He noted that it’s not a perfect system, and as more and more folks come to their doorway, they will have to adapt a little bit differently. ‘Adapt’, being a main word for the industry during this time.  

Sadly the days of the big bands and the DJs are still kind of back in the past, but we really cannot wait until we can get back to doing that in the future.  

Keith Benjamin, Owner of Uptown Social 

A set date that Uptown Social sees itself returning to a pre-COVID-19 time is unclear but they have faith in Governor McMaster, Mayor Tecklenberg, and Chief Reynolds that it will be when the time is right.

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