When Jason Wallace thinks of the best nights at Strange Brew Pub in Norwich, he thinks of the energy that filled the room.
“An atmosphere that was created in here that created something easily enjoyable for many different folks," said Wallace. "Just a lot of shared love in here."
For the last 13 months, though, the room has been filled with nothing.
"It has just been empty," said Wallace.
Strange Brew closed at the beginning of the pandemic, in accordance with the state shutdown.
“Monday the 16th the shutdown came and we have been closed ever since," said Wallace, who opened Strange Brew about seven years ago.
Wallace said that his team has considered reopening the pub in the last year, but it has always come down to the ability to host live music inside.
“We just kept coming back to: we can’t do live entertainment. That is our identity. Let’s hold off best we can until we can do that," explained Wallace.
As of mid-March, venues are able to start hosting live performances again. After a year-long shutdown, Strange Brew will reopen for performances this week.
The venue does look different. Tables are spaced out. Performances will be seated only, with no dance floor. Plastic barriers hang around the bar and the stage to separate performers from the audience. Masks are required when people are not eating or drinking.
The opening night show, this Thursday, sold out in about 90 minutes.
"Which is awesome. It is palpable excitmement that they are ready to reopen the doors," said Rickie Louise Miller, a musician.
Miller is one of the singers who will be performing opening night. She said she is stoked for the acoustic show.
“It will be so nice to get back on that stage again," said Miller.
Wallace agrees, especially as he has been out of work for the last year. He is excited for people to return.
“Even if it comes with certain guidelines in place, I think people are really going to enjoy that and be able to appreciate that," said Wallace.