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Kern County bars adjust to orange tier changes

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Posted at 10:52 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-17 01:52:22-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Now that Kern County is back in the orange tier, many nighttime businesses and their customers are not just saying TGIF, not only because the weekend is here, but this Friday marked the reopening of some bars that have been closed for months.

Louis Varga and his family have been coming to Temblor Brewing Company almost as long as the establishment has been open. So you can imagine how loyal customers like him feel about finally getting to sit at the bar top once more.

“This is a place where you bring your family. There’s 12 or 13 of us, and we come here at least once a week,” said Varga.

If you stop by Bakersfield's Temblor Brewing Company, there is a good chance you’ll see Louis Varga. He’s a long-time customer but when the pandemic hit, it took away that opportunity for those family reunions.

“Birthdays, we’ve had engagements here, this is where my niece and my nephew met here. Both my niece and my nephews had their first dates here. One of them is about to have their first child, so again there’s such a legacy!” said Varga.

But now, Kern County is in the orange tier. Which allows bars that do not serve food to reopen open with modifications outdoors.

Breweries can be open indoors and outdoors at 25% capacity. For Temblor and their open space, the brewery’s lead Kazunori Kishimoto says that can mean no more than 200 people.

We’re doing it in a safe manner, ensuring that there are six feet between each group. We have just a few groups on the bar top with seats of two. We’re not really allowing large groups to huddle around the bar,” said Kishimoto.

He adds that they’ve been lucky to have steady business throughout the pandemic not only because of their space inside and their expansive outdoor patio, but also community support.

Their bar top is also available once more, as the bartenders are ready to serve the drinks to familiar faces, even if they’re wearing masks.

“I missed a lot of my regulars that used to come up to the bar every day. They’re coming back ever so slowly. It’s really nice having them back at the bar,” said Alex Baldner, bartender, Temblor Brewing Company.

Temblor still has its outdoor patio for people to enjoy, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when they have live music nights outdoors.