After canceling all of their live music shows and eventually shutting their doors for what they had hoped was only a brief period of time, The Back Alley Pub on Central Ave in Great Falls announced on their Facebook Page that they would not be reopening.
The Pub posted the following statement on Facebook on July 22: “With a heavy heart I am sorry to say that The Back Alley Pub will not be re-opening. I spoke with the owner last night and was informed that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be closing our doors forever. Thank you so much to all the folks that helped make The Pub what it was! Thanks to all the bands that played some pretty damn amazing shows, the list is too long! Thanks to all the artists that displayed their art! What a bummer!! Our best to everyone out there!”
Pub manager Mike Chasse said that the owner expressed his concern over the potential of someone testing positive for COVID-19 after visiting the pub if they were to reopen.
“He (the owner) was worried about insurance and potential lawsuits if somebody caught it at the bar because the place is so small,” Chasse explained. “So it would have been tough for us to reopen for sure, with the size of the place, and to socially distance people and all of that stuff would have been pretty tough. We didn’t have a lot of tables or seats or anything in there.”
Chasse said that even if the pub had eventually reopened, it likely would have been a while before he started booking any live music shows. That, and you would be hard pressed to find any band that is out on the road touring right now, and touring bands made up a majority of the pub’s shows.
Just as the venue was started to enter their usual busy season, Coronavirus threw a wrench in their plans, as it has done with nearly every aspect of life over the past few months. Chasse says the winters are usually quieter times for the pub, but beginning in March things begin to pick up.
“I had my calendar pretty full from March through May, and March is when all of the touring bands usually would start getting in touch with me and booking up summer dates and all of that,” he said. “Usually, summers we’d have at least two shows a week, sometimes more, it would just depend on the cycle of the bands that were on tour and when they were coming through.”