Local bars face challenges, open doors during pandemic

Digital Exclusive

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Josh Balz, and his business partner Steve Masterson has dreamed of opening his own Goth-themed bar for years. This year that dream was finally about to come true, until the pandemic hit. 

“Obviously bars are a very prevelant in north eastern PA and our goal was to bring about something super creative, different that the area has not seen before,” Steve Masterson, co-owner of Noir, said.

“We were just… so super excited and then we were just… right down,” Josh Balz, co-owner of Noir, said.

The owners plan to open in mid October but Balz says they signed the lease at 244 Penn Ave in Scranton four months ago.

“I threw away a bunch of stuff that was just garbage. That was it. I got really crazy and one day I was like ‘I gotta clean this place.’ And there was just like from teh last tenant there was just like a lot of stuff. So that was all we did. For four months,” Balz said.

Noir is far from the business facing challenges in opening  during the pandemic. Boozy B’s in Wilkes-Barre was ready to open in January but had to wait until June to finally serve customers.

“It was hard just waiting to be able to open but we had no choice. So. We did what we had to,” Bianca Lupio, co-owner of Boozy B’s said.

Boozy B’s used to be in West Pittston, but the owners always wanted to have their alcohol infused ice cream shop in Wilkes-Barre – so they made the move.The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was shut down during the pandemic, so they were unable to open until they recieved their license in Jnene.

“It was difficult, we didn’t know how busy we would be. But luckily things have been going really well for us here,” Lupio said.

Balz, who also owns The Strange and Unusual in Kingston, expects themed bars to attract more customers, especially now during the pandemic.

“I think people are goign to come not only from around here, but I’ve had people drive 16 hours to my store recently. And I was like why and they were like we just want to do something. You know and we know like you have something there’s no where else,” Balz said.

Lupio agrees, saying she’s also had people drive in from far away to try her ice cream during the pandemic.

“We take so much pride and joy in what we’re doing. So for people to come travel to us during the pandemic… it really makes us happy,” Lupio said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

3-Day Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Community Calendar

Your Photos