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'We're gonna find a way to make sure that we're here when this is over' | South End bar struggling to stay in business during COVID-19

The Bar at 316 is now having to get creative to make sure it can open its doors once this pandemic passes.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A South End bar is asking for the public’s help to survive the pandemic. The Bar at 316 has been shut down for nearly six months, unable to reopen as Phase 2 continues to be extended in North Carolina.

The Bar at 316 is now having to get creative to make sure it can open its doors once this pandemic passes.

From the outside, The Bar at 316 looks like a house, and on the inside, it aims for something like home.

"This is, like I said, home, and it's home for many people across Charlotte," Aurora Nicole, a performer at 316 said.

The owner said it's more than a bar.

"Kind of gives people a safe haven, a place to have fun and be themself, and it's more like a family than just a bar," Jeff Edwards, the owner of The Bar at 316.

The club is open to everyone, especially those in the LGBTQ community; an outlet that has been missing in the pandemic.

"There's no really LGBTQ bars able to open cause they're all club license, so that part's hard on us too, and you know, the fact that we've been closed almost six months, and you know, trying to do without the revenue of six months, six months worth of sales," Edwards said.

The lights at The Bar at 316 have remained off, unable to reopen as phase 2 was extended.

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"It just kept being put off and put off and the first few times I dealt with it. It's what needs to be done, and then this time, five weeks, I mean that was just. I was like, for two days, just depressing," Edwards said.

The owner said it's costing roughly 20 grand a month to keep the bar going.

And with no money coming in Aurora Nicole organized a virtual fundraiser show and GoFundMe page to save the Bar at 316.

"We did what we had to do," Nicole said. "We made our goal. We did everything that we set out to do Sunday night, and it was phenomenal."

It's unclear how much longer the bar will have to remain closed, as North Carolina COVID-19 data have shown a recent uptick in cases.

"We need to see continued progress with our trends going in the right direction, and as of last week, they started to tip in the wrong direction," Dr. Mandy Cohen, NC Secretary Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bar at 316 is determined to reopen, though.

"We're gonna find a way to make sure that we're here when this is over," Edwards said, ready to welcome the people they call family back home.

The next chance The Bar at 316 will have to reopen is September 11 — if North Carolina moves into Phase 3 at that time.

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