Half Of LA City Bars That Had To Close During Pandemic May Never Reopen: Yelp Study Says

As businesses reopen across Los Angeles, roughly half of the 6,500 neighborhood bars that had to close last year in the City of LA may never reopen.

Video Transcript

- Bars with patios can now reopen, but patrons may find some of their favorite local spots are closed for good due to the pandemic. We've learned half of the nearly 6,500 bars in the city of LA that closed last year may never reopen.

- That's right. KCAL 9's Brittany Hooper talked to owners of a Hollywood bar still struggling to stay afloat.

BRITTANY HOPPER: Pre-pandemic, this local neighborhood bar, the North End Bar in Hollywood, would be packed with patrons. Every night, they had a different theme-- karaoke night, burlesque night, live music night, but tonight, it's empty. And even with LA County moving into the orange tier allowing bars to open at 25%, there's still a catch.

TERRI CORTINES: And this is huge, this is huge. Like, every last penny we had, we put into this business.

BRITTANY HOPPER: Terri Cortines, along with two other women, spent all of their savings to buy this bar five months before the pandemic hit. And because they don't serve food, they're barely making ends meet.

JENNY PREHEIM: Neighborhood bars are disappearing. And honestly, we are so lucky that our landlord is moving a little bit with us and deferring rent. That doesn't mean that we don't have to pay it. We have a year of back rent due.

BRITTANY HOPPER: According to Yelp, the pandemic forced 6,500 bars to close in the city of LA. Half will never open again.

TERRI CORTINES: Everybody's struggling. And the thing is it's been about-- it's been about restaurants. It's been about restaurants not being able to open, and you know I mean? It's all been about them. There's not been any conversation about bars that don't serve food.

BRITTANY HOPPER: Since moving into the orange tier, and bars can now open at 25% capacity-- but only outdoors with tables 8 feet apart-- these women took matters into their own hands and built this outdoor space in their parking lot. Still, their once neighborhood local bar that had a capacity of 204 people can now only serve maybe 25 to 30 people.

JENNY PREHEIM: Luckily, we've held on this long, and I hope we can make it all the way opening.

BRITTANY HOPPER: The bar owners tell me that because they bought the bar just five months prior to when the pandemic hit, they are not eligible for any grants, PPP, or any government assistance. I'm Brittany Hopper for KCAL 9 News.

- A new USC study finds--