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Despite Chiefs Win, It's A Tale Of Two Seasons For Kansas City Bars Due To The Coronavirus

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Chris Haxel
/
KCUR 89.3
Reduced capacity and mandatory social distancing means fewer patrons for Kansas City bars, even with the Chiefs headed back to the Super Bowl.

The Peanut on Main is a mainstay in the Kansas City bar scene, and thanks to its popular buffalo wings, one might expect the joint to be packed during playoff football — especially with the Chiefs playing the Buffalo Bills in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Alas.

This time last year, the south Plaza watering holed was packed “wall to wall” with fans, said Andrew Hosler.

On this night, Hosler and Chaney Butner sat at the bar with one social-distancing table on the left, and another on the right.

Hosler added, “The Peanut is definitely a big bar for sports, especially during the Chiefs games… a lot of energy. This time, you know, with everything socially distanced, it’s not quite the same.”

Natalie Leslie and Jonathan Delatorre also reminisced about last year’s Super Bowl run as they watched the playoff games with friends at packed bars in Westport.

This year they stayed home, until tonight’s game.

“It’s kind of been hard to get a group together and watch the game,” Leslie said. “I’m still pretty concerned and kind of trying to be mindful with this virus going around … we’re trying to just go out and support local businesses.”

Game crowds across town were bound to be smaller this year, especially with bars and restaurants limited to 50% capacity per the city’s latest COVID-19 order.

Shortly before Sunday’s game, even major venues in the city’s Power & Light district were relatively quiet.

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Chris Haxel
Angel Trujillo, left, and Bryan Jennings, right, planned to watch Sunday's AFC Championship game at home with friends and family.

A few blocks south, in the Crossroads district, a steady stream of Chiefs fans pulled into a parking lot off Main Street — but not to watch the game.

“One day I was driving here and I saw the mural,” said Angel Trujillo, as she motioned toward the giant Chiefs mural painted on the side of the Tom’s Town Distilling Company building.

Adorned in Chiefs-themed masks, Trujillo and Bryan Jennings took turns taking pictures in front of the mural, then headed off to Jennings’ home to watch the game with friends and family.

Across the parking lot, a handful of patrons sat inside a mostly-empty bar as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured a spot in the Super Bowl.

Back at the Peanut, bartender Alex Bryant recalled the scene a year ago, when he struggled to keep up, doling out trays of Corona and Coors Light to patrons.

“We took out quite a few tables for distancing,” he said, motioning toward a room that — in the middle of the game — had about 15 patrons.

“It’s so crazy how different it is,” he added. “We have a very good following here, and supporting local is what we do. It’s what we kind of live for, especially right now with everyone kind of in a hard spot.”

Thanks to the Chiefs’ 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills, the Peanut will be ready for a subdued, and supportive Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

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