The COVID-19 outbreak has forced restaurants across the country to switch to takeout or delivery only while bars and clubs have been shut down. Those restaurants that rely only on dine-in or specialty services have been forced to shut down completely in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe recently revealed that his club in Bend, Oregon, was among those impacted.
The former New England Patriots star reposted a message written by his brother Adam Bledsoe on his Instagram account, revealing that Gov. Kate Brown has ordered all restaurants to be take-out only during the coronavirus pandemic. The Loft, the specialty club owned by Bledsoe, Adam and Chad Wold, does not offer this option and was forced to close. Bledsoe then asked his fellow citizens to keep the service industry in their thoughts and potentially support local businesses by buying gift cards.
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The Loft is not like other restaurants in downtown Bend, however, considering that it's not a traditional restaurant. This private club offers a light food menu but primarily focuses on the beverage options. Adam compared The Loft to similar clubs that have been established in Portland or San Francisco.
The primary selling point is the sheer amount of options available for those that pay the $2,000 initiation fee and the $200 monthly dues. The Loft offers key-card access to a rooftop garden for its members, a conference room equipped for business presentations, the main bar with local microbrews on tap, and roughly 100 types of wines. Members get special pricing for this wine, as well as access to individual private wine lockers kept at 62 degrees.
Membership fees also provide access to club events. This includes poker nights and biweekly wine tastings with distributors and winemakers. Members are also provided with the option to host an event in part of the space.
Adam revealed in late August 2008 that The Loft already had 65 members less than one month after the business was opened. His goal was to max out around 200.
"We priced it so that a broad range of people could afford it," Adam told the Bend Bulletin. "It's not ultra-expensive. A lot of people spend $200 a month on their cell phone bill. If you cut out lattes, you're halfway there."
More than 12 years after its opening, The Loft is closing down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The length of time is currently unknown, but the Bledsoe brothers believe that they — and the rest of America — will make it through these tough times.
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