On July 1, Bill Brown and John Condray will celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Pub on Second, 116-118 W. Second St.
But because of the coronavirus pandemic, the bar has only been able to reach its full capacity of 108 people since June 11.
“We survived and we laid a nice foundation for the future,” Brown said last week. “But in November, when the state shut us down for the second time, we wondered if we had made the right decision about opening this place.”
“We had never been able to open with full capacity until June 11,” Condray said. “But we’ve been able to stay full at whatever capacity we were allowed to have. We’re looking forward to great crowds.”
He said, “Customers ordered to go and for delivery to help us last year. They were great.”
The bar can seat another 50-plus people outside, Condray said.
June 11 was a good night, he said.
“People were excited to be out,” Condray said. “We’re still trying to keep space between tables because a lot of people still don’t want to be close to others.”
He said, “We’re seeing some people we haven’t seen since Day 1. It’s nice that we can seat everybody now and not have to turn anyone away after fighting to stay alive for a year. “
The bar’s trivia nights have stayed strong through the pandemic, Condray said.
“I see some people who have followed me for 10 years,” he said.
Condray operated Gambrinus Libation Emporium in that location from 2009 to 2017.
Brown said, “We’re seeing some great nights during the week from business travelers.”
In the past year, Mile-Wide Brewing and The Brew Bridge have opened brewpubs downtown and Andy Brasher and Tammara Miller plan to open Brasher’s Little Nashville in August.
“Anything that brings more people downtown is good for us,” Condray said. “It helps create an entertainment district. You need families coming downtown for some things and adults for some things. I’m glad Owensboro has caught up on breweries.”
Brown said, “We have a great selection of drinks and a fantastic staff.”
The bar, he said, has 75 craft beers in bottles and cans and 26 on tap.
In 2019, the city created The District, where people can carry “green cups” with alcoholic beverages on the streets, within four blocks of the Ohio River and nearly a mile along it from J.R. Miller Boulevard to as far west as Poplar Street on weekends.
“That has been great for business,” Brown said.
Condray said, “We started working on this place in late January or early February 2020. We were planning to open April 15 and then they shut the state down on March 15. But we got to see what people’s expectations were. We have amazing customers. And we see new faces every day.”
The Pub has a staff of eight now, but he said, “We’ll expand as the business grows.”
Hours are from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
The Pub is in the Smith-Werner Building, which was built about 1850.
That makes it one of Owensboro’s oldest buildings.