Local bars are gearing up for New Year's Eve

NOW: Local bars are gearing up for New Year’s Eve

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- New Year's Eve is this Saturday, and Michiana is gearing up to ring in 2023. But will partygoers be stingier this year after record inflation?

St. Patrick's Day, Blackout Wednesday, and, of course, New Year's Eve are some of the biggest bar nights in South Bend. While there's some concern inflation will cause customers to cut back, bartenders are banking on big crowds when the clock strikes midnight.

Corby's Irish Pub bartender Gary Gilliam expects this year's Great Gatsby-themed New Year's Eve party to be packed.

"New Year's Eve is definitely one of our big nights," he said. "You're going to want to get here as early as you can and plan to stay the whole time."

The bar is even putting crowd control measures in place.

"We have a great system at the door to where we check the IDs, get the cover, and then the crowd control," Gilliam said. "Having a great security team in place is a main must here."

He's less worried about getting people in the door, and more concerned with making sure they have a blast while also staying safe.

"Specially to get them home safe, that's our number one concern," Gilliam said. "To get them here safe, have a great time, then get them home safe as well."

New Year's Day is the deadliest day for alcohol-related crashes in America, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"We've been known to call Ubers or Lyfts for people to get home safe," said bartender Mary Swope.

Swope works at The Hideaway at The LaSalle, which is planning to serve its speakeasy cocktails while ringing in the new year.

"We're excited for this year," she said, "the more the merrier."

But after a year of record inflation, will local bars see their regular New Year's Eve crowds?

"The year's been rough for a lot of us. Everybody's been hit by it in some way, shape, or form," Gilliam said. "A little concerned about [a smaller crowd]. But we're going to make it a party regardless."

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