INDIANAPOLIS — For decades, the bar at the corner of West 30th Street and High School Road has been known as typical sports bar. But the pandemic has led to a rebirth for McGilvery's Pub and Eatery.
"We redid the top of the bar, bar top, beautiful things that I've always wanted to do. Added a stage so we could be a venue," Angela Halsey said.
Halsey is the owner of McGilvery's. She started in this bar 30 years ago as a server. Fast forward to 2020, and Halsey, who's clearly learned a thing or two about running a restaurant was given the hardest test yet, the 2020 pandemic.
"We were not the best-suited for a high carryout volume, we don't have the opportunities to do delivery like most places," Halsey said.
As a result, most of McGilvery's employees were furloughed during the shutdown. Halsey took that time to make serious changes at the restaurant including a remodel and finally banned smoking.
She said she took the risk of spending money during a pandemic in hopes of building a better place for her employees to make some money.
"I think that's a lot of what a pandemic does is it makes you kind of stop and reinvent," Halsey said.
Halsey is counting on the Big Ten and March Madness tournaments on TV to bring in new customers.
She says if the good food, enforced masking, indoor and outdoor seating, and more than a dozen new TVs don't create the best place in town to enjoy a month of college sports, then she's just counting on residents and visitors to simply support a small business that has had a tough year.
"We've got the TVs on. A nice laid-back environment. Come to sit back and the day with us watching your favorite games," Halsey said.