MILWAUKEE — Bars and restaurants around Milwaukee County aren't allowed to have customers inside, but are still offering festive St. Patrick's Day foods to-go.
Milwaukee County ordered late Monday night that bars and restaurants must shut down until further notice. It posed a particular headache for bars who really depend on business during St. Patrick's Day.
"It's anywhere from four to seven percent of our revenue," Steve Schmich, Owner of McBob's said. "It's huge."
Schmich has owned McBob's with his wife for over 30 years. It's known for its corned beef, a staple on St. Patrick's Day. The smell emanates from the kitchen, which could be its own selling point to the folks packed in the bar.
However, every single chair in the bar was empty Tuesday morning because of the shut down.
"We have a great vibe," Schmich said. "We just don't have any customers."
Instead, the phone is constantly ringing. Customers are greeted by the faint sounds of Irish music still being pumped through the bar. Dozens already placing orders for their St. Patrick's Day favorites. They'll have to pick them up from a outside of the bar through a tent set up in the back, but they'll still be able to get a taste of March 17.
The servers won't be so lucky this St. Patrick's Day.
"We could have easily made a couple hundred dollars each," Cyndi Mythen, a server, said. "We are in Milwaukee and people do like to drink. The community gets together and we depend on tips. The more people you have, the more tips you get."
It's the same story at Leff's Lucky Town in Wauwatosa. The owners say they usually open the doors early on St. Patrick's Day, starting at 6 a.m. Late Tuesday morning, chairs are still upside down on tables with a bare-bones staff taking orders over the phone.
"It's sad," Dean Leffler, Manager at Leff's Lucky Town, said. "It's disheartening. We just don't know what to do."
Leffler says they had to reduce staff by 90 percent today. He says many of their employees work here as a second job or are students who can depend on their parents to help support them. But not everybody.
"The people who rely on this as their main income, we're trying to get those employees some hours and include them first," Leffler said. "Everyone is struggling for sure. We're losing tons of money. Not just for the business, but the staff and our 50 plus employees we have working here. If you can't make it to the grocery store right now to get food for your family, call a restaurant because everyone is looking to stay alive right now.