Bars and Restaurants Can Restart Outdoor Service This Week. The Old Gold Won’t Be One of Them.

Owner Ezra Ace Caraeff is voluntarily shutting down for winter as COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket. He can’t promise he’ll reopen.

The Old Gold bar in Portland, OR. Photo by Jason Quigley

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Even though bars and restaurants can start serving customers outdoors again this week, the partial easing of restrictions on in-person dining will not be enough for some businesses to keep their doors open.

Old Gold, the North Killingsworth Street bar known for its carefully curated selection of bourbon, is signing off for the rest of 2020.

An announcement was posted on the business's Twitter account this morning. Owner Ezra Ace Caraeff followed up with a personal tweet, underscoring the original message about the ethics of remaining closed as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket.

"This was not an easy decision to make, but we know it's the right one," he wrote. "While we will take a financial hit we might never recover from, morally we don't think it's right to put our staff and customers at risk during this time. Or, as I signed all my yearbooks, see ya next year."

Caraeff, who owns three other properties—Paydirt, Tough Luck and the Hi-Top Tavern—already struggled through two previous closures: the governor-mandated shutdown last spring and then a week in September due to smoke-choked air during a historic wildfire season.

Related: Portland Restaurants and Bars Have Seen Fire. Now They're Preparing to See Rain—and the Results Could Be Even More Devastating.

To prepare for winter, he invested in sturdy tents and decorations, like string lights, to make the outdoors more hospitable to diners. Now it seems that much of that investment in time and resources will have gone to waste since those businesses don't appear as though they'll reopen until spring at the earliest.

Related: Last Night, Ezra Ace Caraeff Reopened His Bar. He Hopes He Won't Have to Close It Again.

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