Noble Beast Brewing
(1470 Lakeside Ave. E., 216-417-8588) has managed to stay above water during the Covid crisis by selling take-out food and crowlers, growlers and cans of its beer. But without the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), none of that would have made much difference, says brewer-owner Shaun Yasaki. But that money will dry up soon, he adds, so it’s time to open the doors.
“Everything we’ve been doing has been twice as much work for half the profit,” Yasaki explains. “Frankly, from a business perspective we have to reopen. If we weren’t running on the PPP loan right now, we’d be out of business. And the PPP loan is going to run out, so…”
Noble Beast will officially reopen for dine-in business on Wednesday, June 3, with a very well defined and structured set of operating procedures.
“We have a pretty comprehensive plan on how we will run things inside,” reports Yasaki. “The staff feels really comfortable with it and I feel comfortable with it. There seems to be this thought that all businesses are forcing their employees back to work. I don’t think that’s the case here.”
What guests will see upon arrival is that all of the bar seating and half of the floor seating has been removed to comply with social distancing. Masks will be required to enter the building and move around within, but obviously not while seated. (Masks will be available for a nominal fee.)
Guests will enter through the front door and exit through the rear to reduce guest-to-guest contact. Reservations are strongly encouraged, but if there is a vacancy, a walk-in can have it. There is no outdoor seating.
A modification worth noting is the implementation of single-occupancy bathrooms that employ a foot-peddle that illuminates an “occupied” sign to alert others.
“It’s going to be pretty structured and pretty strict,” Yasaki points out. “Obviously, we want everyone to come in, relax and have fun. But I think we’re targeting the people who would prefer to do that in a controlled environment. We’re prepared to ask people to leave.”
To start, the days and hours of operation will be Wednesday and Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday through Sunday noon-10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday service still is under consideration.
Under these conditions, even when operating “at capacity,” Noble Beast (and most small businesses that find themselves in the same position) will not be able to hang on indefinitely.
“It’s not going to be very profitable,” he admits. “It remains to be seen how full we can keep this going throughout the day because you can’t just fill up at 50 percent from 5 to 8 and make it work.”