RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Schools, government buildings and hundreds of Richmond-area businesses closed their doors to the winter storm bearing down on central Virginia January 22, but there are a few places in the Fan District where restless snowbound residents will find the lights on.
Beau Butler, a manager at Starlite Dining and Lounge, said the bar’s owners made extra preparations to stay in business during the storm. “We had generators on standby. The owners are shuttling employees home from work,” said Butler. “As soon as we knew the weather was coming, we made sure to over-order so we could accommodate everybody.”
At Starlight, 3 Monkeys, and other bars and restaurants along West Main Street, snow-weary residents piled in for drinks, food, and for some, a warm place to sit.
“Our heat is out, so we just walk on down to the watering hole,” said customer Will Bays.
As the snow piles up, businesses are cashing in on an unofficial holiday.
“Everybody who didn’t have to work today came out and had a good time,” said Butler, adding that the bar had seen a steady crowd since the snow began falling on Friday morning.
“They know they don’t have to drive anywhere,” Butler said of the regular customers living in the surrounding area.
“You don’t want to be cooped in all day,” said customer Addison Leftwich. “It’s a nice way to get outside and do something.”
With hundreds of restaurants and other stores shuttered for the weekend, housebound Fan residents braved the cold to celebrate a snow day for the ages.
“It’s a Fan tradition — snow and day-drinking,” Butler said.
The few restaurants that are open this weekend expect large turnouts for Saturday and Sunday brunch.