Downtown Tulsa Bars, Restaurants Get Glimpse Of Normalcy This Weekend

Sunday, March 7th 2021, 9:38 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

Bars and restaurants around Downtown Tulsa are looking forward to making more money again.

Owners told News on 6 that this weekend’s Big 12 Wrestling Championship has boosted business and allows industry workers to get a glimpse of normalcy. 

These bars and restaurants are within walking distance from the arts district and overlooks the BOK Center — a venue that has attracted some of the nation’s top artists.

“We're in the perfect spot to actually benefit from those events,” Arena Pub and Grill general manager Baldo Rodriguez said.

That is, until the pandemic cut back on crowds and canceled tours worldwide.   

"This area, just in general has been, you know, a challenge,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez is used to seeing empty streets as he looks out at the BOK Center, but this weekend, he has welcomed the foot traffic.   

"We're poised, we're staffed, we're stocked,” Rodriguez said. “Let us worry about keeping you safe. You guys just go out and have fun." 

The restaurant just opened last summer which makes an event like the Big 12 Wrestling Championship a big deal for Rodriguez.

"We're excited. We handled it well,” Rodriguez said. “It seems like there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel." 

Elliot Nelson is the founder and CEO of the McNellie's Group, a Tulsa-based restaurant group.

Nelson told News on 6 his restaurant profits were down over 40% last year. He believes some restaurants have taken a harder hit.

"Things that normally drive our lunch, which are downtown office workers, aren't here and then the things that normally drive the nights and weekends, which are concerts and events, also aren't here,” Nelson said.

Rodriguez and Nelson look forward to more big events on the calendar soon.