Richmond nightlife impacted by economic unrest

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - In this tight economy, people are think twice before heading downtown for a night out.

That's forcing local bars and restaurants to get creative.

From half off specials on certain days of the week, to live music.

Bars and restaurants, particularly in downtown locations like the Bottom are doing whatever they can to get people in their doors.

"It has been rough for us these last few months," said Havana 59 manager Cynthia Carmichael.

Havana 59 is part of a normally bustling area in Richmond, where tables at popular restaurants are hard to come by.

Weekends still bring in the crowds, but during the week things are much slower.

"There is no traffic, there is no foot traffic, no automobiles it is very quiet here in Shockoe Bottom," she said.

Which means place like Havana and BlackFinn are forced to get creative.

Offering drink specials and deep discounts in their menu to entice traffic.

In fact BlackFinn isn't trying to ignore the economic problems they are embracing it with special prices on Thursday that they dub their Economic Recovery Plan.

"It's been a hard time on everyone having the disposable income, to go out and spend money, so were happy to be able to do our part," said BlackFinn manager Lewis Meredith.

And even for those people who decide to go out like Haz Jafari the economy is never far from their mind.

"Like what is going to happen, where is it going to go, is it going to get better, how long is it going to take," Jafari said.

A tough battle for business owners to fight, in an economy where few answers and ideas seem to be available.

For many downtown bars, traffic during the day is still pretty brisk because of the daytime lunch crowds.

The problem comes is at night when in order to survive restaurant owners need patrons to drive in from the suburbs in order to be successful.

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