For New Year’s Eve, Max Downtown in Hartford is a popular spot for people to celebrate the end of 2020. Reservations went fast for indoor dining, and restrictions meant there were fewer reservations available. Those who couldn’t get a table or felt more comfortable at home had options, too.
Max Downtown offered a New Year’s Eve meal to go. Co-owner Steven Abrams said they sold about 180 boxes, which was far more than they expected. While it’s been a tough year with a 70% decrease in business, the last night of December seems to be a good one.
“Tonight is the busiest night we’ll have since we reopened,” said Abrams.
Max Downtown reopened in September and Abrams said there’s certainly been a learning curve with the pandemic. Thursday night’s hustle and bustle brought some much-needed morale to a sector hit hard, especially in the capitol city.
“Doing all this pivoting and to-go is building a good foundation, so we’ll be a really strong restaurant when the pandemic is over,” said Abrams.
“Pre-COVID, the street would be closed. We’d have a DJ out here. We’d be dancing in the street. We’d have giant live puppets. We’d have unicyclists, jugglers,” said Jordan Dikegoros, owner of J Restaurant Bar.
2020 meant a lot of canceled or pared-down celebrations. But not all traditions could be stopped. J Restaurant Bar had the ball drop like always but this time on the hour, every hour up until nine. Because no one can celebrate the end of 2020 enough.
“We had to do it. We want to get rid of 2020 in the worst way and move on to 2021,” said Dikegoros.
With dining rooms required to close by 10 p.m., it’ll be a quieter ringing in of the new year, but everyone said they’re happy to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020.