At long last, 4th Street Vine reopens for outdoor service

After being closed for seven months, local wine bar and music venue 4th Street Vine has reopened for in-person dining. The opening comes after the city announced new health protocols that would allow bars, breweries, distilleries and wineries that could not reopen without a fully-licensed kitchen to partner with a third-party food vendor for outdoor service allowing it to function as a defacto restaurant.

These new guidelines are a lifeline for 4th Street Vine and dozens of other bars in the city trying to stay in business until county coronavirus positivity rates drop and businesses can resume normal operations. Under the state’s new color-coded system, Los Angeles County is currently in the purple, or widespread tier, which mandates that many indoor, non-essential businesses remain closed.

“It’s a huge step after a long period of time closed,” 4th Street Vine owner Jim Ritson said. “[Thursday] night went great despite all the new movements we had to create for compliance.”

Leading up to their reopening Thursday, owners Ritson and Sophia Sandoval said they took painstaking steps to prep, rearrange and revamp their back patio to accommodate the city’s guidelines and safety protocols.

“I took a lot of time and sacrificed a lot of space to make sure everybody’s spaced out properly—all my tables are spaced six-feet apart. The staff has all the safety equipment that they need [including] face shields,” Ritson said.

A view of 4th Street Vine’s back patio on opening night, Thursday Oct. 8. Photo courtesy Jim Ritson.

Business like 4th Street Vine, those in the business of exclusively selling alcohol, will operate as other local restaurants and bars with full-kitchens do: outdoor dining only, distanced tables, masked staff handling food and drink with patrons required to order food with alcohol purchases and remain seated during their visit.

For provisions, 4th Street Vine has partnered with Bamboo Club’s kitchen as a catering service. It’s an “easy partnership” said Ritson, who co-owns the Tiki bar on Anaheim Street. Other bars and businesses of the like will be required to partner with a city-approved traditional restaurant, fast food restaurant or mobile meal provider, such as a food truck, in order to reopen.

For the next few weeks, 4th Street Vine will be operating with limited hours Thursday through Sunday until Ritson said he can hire more staff for full-time operation. Currently, live music or entertainment is prohibited in the state of California.

For hours of operation visit 4th Street Vine’s Instagram, here.

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Cheantay Jensen is an editorial intern who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.
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