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As Austin Bars Close for Now, Nickel City Shares a Guide on How to Shutter Responsibly

From from staff to products and equipment, Amanda Carto provides bar owners and bartenders with some quick advice

Nickel City
Nickel City
Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Every single Austin bar is now closed in the city as a result of the new mandate ordering the shuttering of local restaurant dining rooms and bars today in order to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, effective immediately as of noon earlier today. (However, restaurants and food trucks are still able to serve takeout and delivery orders.)

In light of this sudden order, Nickel City bar manager Amanda Carto put together a very helpful guide for bar owners and bartenders who need to close down their businesses immediately. Her advice, shared on Facebook, ranges from giving away produce to staffers and food shelters, concealing bottles of alcohol before locking up, emptying out and cleaning draft beer lines, to making sure to help out staffers who might be unemployed as a result of the closure.

Carto decided to put the post together because “we’re all in uncharted waters right now,” she told Eater. “I’m sure the majority of us have never truly shuttered a bar down before with the hope to walk back to it in a month.” There are so many different aspects of the bar business to think about, from staff to financials to products to equipment to possible theft.

Carto based her guide on what she has learned over the past several years in the bar industry. That’s in addition to advice from Nickel co-owner Travis Tober and their colleagues across the globe and within the city. Sharing this post on Facebook made the most sense to her, so that everyone can make use of it. She’ll continue to share information on her Instagram page as well.

“I want to know my team is supported during this time,” Carto said, “and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we can get everyone back to their job as smoothly as possible when the time comes.”

Nickel City announced that it was closing amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, ahead of the city’s mandate issued today. As a result of the indefinite closure, the bar had to temporarily lay off its employees.

Amanda Carto’s Facebook Note:

Some quick advice on how to shutter your bars for the next month. This is also something to put into account if you are switching to just Food Only while your bar stays still.

1. Get rid of all perishable produce. Give this to your staff that wasn’t able to shop while they were keeping the doors open, then link up with a food shelter that will need these supplies for anything leftover.

2. Pack up your booze & double check your security! It may feel weird to do this, but take your bottles down from your back bar and place in a hiding spot. If you have large windows, definitely make sure nothing valuable is in eyesight. This is to discourage looting. Change security codes. Take any and all liability of “theft” off your staff so they’re not brought to question by the police, causing more unnecessary stress on your team.

3. Empty out your beer lines. If you have a draft cocktail or beer system, run your lines and make sure nothing is left in them. Clean them out. Be prepared to do a chemical/acid clean on them before you operate again. Leaving anything in your lines is going to ruin them, and the cost to replace your lines is going to be insane if you choose not to take these steps.

4. If you are a business owner and have an accountant or accounting office, make sure your staff’s information is correct and offer to help them file for unemployment, or simply just to it for them. It’s the biggest load off of your employee’s shoulders to not have to navigate that circus.

5. Stay calm. Don’t panic. We’ll get through this. Share any and all tips and tricks with your fellow bar folks so we can keep our spaces and equipment at its best so we can have an easier reopening when this is all said and done.

Nickel City

212 South Main Street, , TX 76104 (512) 987-4294 Visit Website