DBTB Episode 65: The State of Beer Bars featuring Chris Black, Michael Roper, and Polly Watts

Show notes from host John Holl:


“I’ve been thinking a lot about pints and specifically what I missed as I spent time at home and away from normal beer related things in 2020. I’ve really missed draft beer. I’ve missed settling into favorite tables or stools at familiar bars, scanning a list and ordering something new and exciting or flavorful and reliable.


Over the course of this past year, I’ve talked with a lot of brewery owners and brewers about how COVID-19 has impacted them and changed the brewing industry, but today I want to talk about bars and what the pandemic has done to them.


 As I got to writing this introduction to the show there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that chronicled the plight of bars and restaurants across the country amid restrictions and shutdowns.


 There was one quote in particular that stuck out to me, from Aaron Gregory Smith, the executive director of the United States’ Bartender’s guild:

“This is the worst crisis to hit the industry since Prohibition,” he said.

Like you, I miss travel and I miss going to bars that feel familiar even if I visit only once or twice a year or every few years. A good feeling and well-appointed bar is an extension of the publican and today on the show I’m honored to be joined by three of the very best in the country:


Polly Watts of the Avenue Pub in New Orleans, Michael Roper of Hop Leaf in Chicago., and Chris Black of Falling Rock Tap House in Denver.


All three are thoughtful, passionate, and knowledgeable and each have been kicked while down this year but are doing their best to stick it out.


We spoke shortly before Christmas, with Chris in Denver, Michael in Chicago and Polly in London, where she was visiting her daughter. I had some questions in mind before we started, but quickly realized that since all three were friends and had a lot on their minds and so I just hit record and let them at it.”



About Drink Beer, Think Beer With John Holl

Drink Beer, Think Beer is a weekly podcast gets to the bottom of every pint with brewers, growers, and industry leaders on all aspects of the brewing industry. From ingredients and process, to philosophy and the art in each beer, the podcast is hosted by long-time journalist John Holl and is available on all the major podcast platforms.

Beer Edge releases new episodes of Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl every Wednesday


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