Community is in the air at Kelly’s Pub in downtown Edmonton, but it looks a lot different than it did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since their grand re-opening in 2012, Kelly’s Pub has been serving classic pub food and providing Edmonton locals with a vibrant social scene. They take the sports scene seriously, boasting fourteen TV’s in the pub to provide live coverage of all sporting events, making Kelly’s a go-to spot for all Edmonton locals to spectate games. Located two blocks away from Rogers Place, Kelly’s also provides the perfect venue for a post-game beer.
Dealing with the new guidelines was particularly challenging for a pub-style venue. Before the pandemic, 60% of Kelly’s sales came from liquor sales and 40% came from food orders, but the shift to a takeout-based system changed that breakdown. Scott Krebes estimates that before the pandemic they averaged 20 takeout orders per week but that number skyrocketed to 150 when dine-in operations closed. Although the spike was helpful in keeping the restaurant afloat during this uneasy time, it was far from the typical number of sales they’d make from dine-in operations.
Kelly’s wasn’t on any of the third-party delivery apps prior to the pandemic and had to scramble to get those set up in early stages. The restaurant re-opened for dine-in on May 14th with 65% capacity. They can typically seat 152 indoors and 45 on the patio, but that number has since been reduced to just over 80 indoors and 26 on the patio. To spice up the patio scene, they were able to put up TV’s outside so guests could watch sporting events while enjoying the COVID-friendly outdoor seating.
“It’s difficult because our regulars are no longer able to sit by the bar and watch the games. The first week we were open was insane, because this is people’s social scene and they missed that.” Explains Scott. “I see some people more than I see my wife!”
Kelly’s has always been known as the bar that other restaurant industry workers go to after their own shifts, as they’re typically open until 2 AM. The pandemic has forced them to cut down on their hours, which has been disappointing for Kelly’s and other industry workers alike. The shift to remote work has also severely impacted the corporate lunch rush, and Scott describes the downtown area as empty in comparison to what it once was.
“We really appreciate the local support. Without regulars and the businesses around us doing takeout we wouldn’t have been able to get through this time.” States Scott. “We know around 75% of people that come to the pub, so people have been really good about following rules.”
For more information on Kelly’s Pub, please visit https://kellyspubedmonton.com/.