SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The sounds of a piano and people socializing filled the lounge at Lion’s Den on Wentworth Place in Chinatown Saturday evening. The venue opened in March of this year as the first club in the neighborhood in nearly 45 years.
“It’s not slammed all of a sudden there’s lines out the door, but on Thursday night we were doing really well, and the coolest thing was we could bring our bar stools back to the bar, because we were not allowed during COVID to have anybody dance, everybody had to have a seat,” said Lion’s Den Bar & Lounge owner Steven Lee.READ MORE: VIDEO: 'Black Lives Matter' Art Works Defaced At Tamalpais High School
People can pack indoor bars and clubs once again, and masks will no longer be mandated for vaccinated people.
There are no capacity limits anymore, but the service industry is still hurting for workers.
“100% is great, but the problem is getting staffing,” Lee told KPIX 5. “That’s a big issue right now. Right now, as you know all the entertainment clubs are open. They’re all looking, and everybody’s picking, choosing.”
Lee said Lion’s Den will add live music starting in July – a sign that things will be getting closer to normal.
On Broadway, there was a line for a table around dinner time at China Live Saturday night.
It’s seeing the return of locals and tourists to almost pre-pandemic levels.READ MORE: Suspect Arrested In Hit-And-Run Of 88-Year-Old San Francisco Pedestrian
“So we’ve had so many guests mention to us on the way in the door that they chose San Francisco because we have such a high vaccination rate, and that we’ve done such a great job as a community,” said China Live General Manager Brian Basmajian.
China Live says it’s recently added 48 more seats to accommodate guests.
“It’s exciting, it was a little bit nerve wracking in the sense of it’s just weird seeing everybody without masks, but to be honest I think that people will probably embrace it pretty quickly,” said Hugh Marshall of San Francisco. “It’s just so nice to be in a restaurant and hear the buzz of the city.”
The boost in business is welcome in Chinatown, which has suffered greatly since the start of the pandemic.
“We’re just so grateful to see everyone walking our way everyday – see Chinatown coming back,” said Basmajian.
Not all businesses have been fortunate enough to make it this far.MORE NEWS: Suspects Sought In Violent Takeover Robbery Of Half Moon Bay Pot Farm
“I work down in the Financial District and it was hard to walk past Kearny, and all the lunch spots, my coffee shop,” said Steve Andres, a diner from Sonoma. “I took my kids to the coffee shop where I go – boarded up, closed. And it is hard, you feel for all those businesses, those families, they poured their life savings into it.”