Bar opens for 1st time in 11 months thanks to lifted mandates

While some bars were able to stay open, The Shiloh Club was forced to close indefinitely. Now, 11 months and 1 week later, it's back in business.

Video Transcript

- A local bar owner calling today the start of a new era after being closed for almost a year thanks to the pandemic.

- ABC13 reporter Roxy Bustamante joins us live with how Texas opening up at 100% could really help businesses out. Roxie?

ROXIE BUSTAMANTE: Yes, since the pandemic hit, there have been businesses like the one right here behind me, Classic, that closed permanently. And also right here, right across the street, walking distance away, is where an abandoned restaurant used to stand. It has been demolished and no longer exists. Now, we could see this on every street here in Houston. But luckily, in the Heights, there is a bar owner who is allowed to open and welcome residents today.

CINDY BAKER: We're like family.

ROXIE BUSTAMANTE: Cindy Baker has been a regular at The Shiloh Club for 35 years, and was one of the first ones to show up when the bar opened its doors this morning.

CINDY BAKER: It's good for the small businesses to come back, the people to come back to work. Great for the economy. But you know, a lot of people got hurt by small businesses being shut down.

ROXIE BUSTAMANTE: Since last March, the neighborhood staple was closed for a total of 11 months and one week.

- It was really weird. I've been here seven years this year in April, and we've never closed ever, not one day. We were open during Harvey, like, you know, the freeze, everything.

ANTHONY SHORROSH: It looks like our slogan is, you know, welcome home, welcome back.

ROXIE BUSTAMANTE: Co-owner Anthony says Shiloh Club is considered a full bar, and were not one of the thousands of Texas bars that opened through the restaurant loophole.

ANTHONY SHORROSH: We had calls from our customers, well, why don't you sell food? Well, we don't have a kitchen. And we didn't feel comfortable by saying, OK, I'm going to charge someone, you know, $10 for a bag of chips and you get two beers, you know? It just-- it wasn't what we wanted to do. We wanted to follow the system, do it right.

ROXIE BUSTAMANTE: According to the Texas Restaurant Association, 11,000 restaurants have shut down permanently statewide due to the pandemic. As for the bars that have been shuttered for almost a year, Anthony says they are one of the lucky ones.

ANTHONY SHORROSH: We had phone calls in the middle of the year, people asking us, are we interested in a bar, I mean, because they were closing. So we know of at least two bars in this area that completely closed.

ROXIE BUSTAMANTE: Today, the Shiloh club is back open for business with the same staff as before, and also with some safety measures in place. Anthony says reopening has restored his hope, but he says he still does not know what the future holds.

ANTHONY SHORROSH: Thank god we're in Texas, and that we have some freedoms and some ability to do things that other places don't. So don't really take advantage of it where three months from now, we'll be having another interview that says, man, you know, you guys, they shut us all down. So let's just be responsible.

CINDY BAKER: [LAUGHS] I'm really glad to be back.