Phase 2 is 2 Confusing

by | May 21, 2020 | Pender County

The PubScout ponders the logic of Phase 2 excluding bars and breweries.

Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has decided to relax some of the restrictions he placed on some North Carolina businesses, and many, such as restaurants, barber shops, salons and nail spas, are happy. Many others, like bars, breweries and brewpubs (my bailiwick) are not, as they are still precluded from opening — even with sensible restrictions.

Don’t get me wrong. I need to see my barber ASAP, and the missus and her friends are ecstatic that they can visit their hair salons and mani-pedi places. Facebook selfies, drastically reduced in the last eight weeks (due to things alien to me like “skunk-striping”), will likely see a new renaissance. And happy womenfolk are critical to the proper functioning of a home, not to mention a nation.
Cooper’s decision to allow some but not others to open has made many businesses happy, but it’s caused some justifiable (in my opinion) anger among the prohibited set. Many questions they ask don’t have sensible answers. Why, for example, can a “social-distance practicing” restaurant — which serves spirits and beer on premises along with food — do so, when a brewery with a fully equipped taproom with comfortable and “spaceable” seating still has to go takeout and curbside?
Food seems to be the determining factor in this case. The previous restrictions unfairly handcuffed restaurants (in southeastern North Carolina specifically), as food and liquor-purveying businesses across the state line in South Carolina were freed from that yoke some time ago.

And while occasional takeout is both fun and necessary to support local businesses, it’s not the same as sitting down to a nice meal with some good wine and good beer — and someone else does the dishes.

That, however doesn’t make the brewery/craft bar owners any happier. Why, they ask, can’t we institute safe social-distance practices and allow our customers to come in, relax, sit and enjoy our products in safety?


Not every lager, helles, IPA or porter requires a meal to enjoy it. Sometimes, like after 100 miles on two wheels, you just get thirsty, and you want to sit down in a comfortable bar or taproom to hoist a few in solitude while you contemplate life, or to chat — from 6 feet apart, of course — with the guy on the next stool over or the guy or gal who draws your beer.


As much as most North Carolinians want to see small businesses thrive again, it’s confusing as to why some are winners and some are relegated to second class, nonessential status. I’ve always thought that every legitimate business is essential — to somebody, especially to the folks who put their life’s blood, sweat and tears into opening and running it.


It seems absurd that I can’t go to — The Trailer Bar, Salty Turtle Beer Company, The Peak Taphouse and Kitchen in Surf City and Leaf & Barrel in Hampstead.

I should invite Governor Cooper for a beer at one of the above places. But he’s got to open them first. And I may have to coax them to serve him.

Phase 2 is 2 Confusing

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Carolina Marketing Company, Inc.

About the author

Kurt Epps (aka The PubScout)

Kurt Epps (aka The PubScout)

I am a retired English teacher, a veteran of 37 years in the high school classroom, and I have also served as an adjunct professor at the college level. I'm a multiple award-winning writer and have won national recognition for my coverage of the craft beer industry, in which I've been immersed since 1996. An expert at beer and food pairing, I emcee dinners, host public and private tutored beer tastings and evaluate and review beer bars, breweries, brewpubs and pubs, as well as restaurants with good beer menus. I encourage the responsible enjoyment of beer, and my favorite quote comes from Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Co.: "All beer is good; some beer is better.” My mission as The PubScout’s is to locate and write about the "better.”