SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Local sports bars have struggled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, the return of football is bringing back a boom in business that hadn’t been experienced since the Super Bowl concluded in early February.
“I really didn’t even expect this football season to happen,” Minnesota Vikings fan Kevin North said. “Even though things are way different than they normally are, it’s great to be able to come to the bar that I love.”
After months of uncertainty filled with constant closures and restrictions, some bars are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s been a little rough you know,” Baja Sharkeez manager James Magee said. “It’s a learning experience.”
At O’Malley’s, longtime owner Dan Baha has his TV screens hanging high above for the outdoor audience on State Street.
“We’re not doing what we nearly did,” Bahan said. “You know what, we’re open and that’s the best part.”
Each of these…