The last time there were crowds at Murphy’s Bleachers and the other bars, pubs, restaurants and taverns around Wrigleyville was in the middle of March. It has been 80 long days of stay-at-home orders in Chicago since the last big crowds in the neighborhood on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.
The small groups I saw walking around on Wednesday were decidedly different than those large crowds on March 14. For starters, the only seats that are open in restaurants are the seats directly adjacent to open windows and the majority of guests are seated on the patio with tables at least six feet apart as you can see from these photos of Murphy’s Bleachers:
Bernie’s also opened their patio with social distancing protocols and advice in place, and frankly it looked like a pretty tame group enjoying a beverage in the sun at the corner of Clark and Waveland as well:
There are still a few businesses that appear to be working on their re-opening plan. Big Star, for example, has a patio area that was not open when I walked by on Wednesday but you can reserve your table on the patio for this afternoon as of now. If your local favorite haunt isn’t open yet, be sure you keep checking back:
In addition to only opening window/patio seats and socially distancing, some local restaurants had really upped their COVID-19 protection game. The Pancake Cafe on Halsted and Grace expanded their patio area and installed plexiglass guards between each socially distant table:
It’s a far cry from a normal June in Wrigleyville. The Cubs would have been in Cincinnati today, but I imagine the 80 degree weather with just the hint of a cloud this Friday would have inspired a lot of people to head out to the various patios around the neighborhood to check in on their favorite team. There is still no baseball but it’s nice to know we can enjoy those spaces with friends while we wait for the game to return.