Neighborhood bar gets second life following five-month COVID-19 closure

Owner: "The timing is all perfect."
local 46
Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 01:38:20-05

In September 2020, the owners of Local 46 bar in the Berkeley neighborhood told us they'd be closing their doors for good. In a few weeks, they'll be back in business.

"The timing is all perfect," said owner Niya Gingerich. "We're going to re-open Local 46 in April, and we're going to be there for a short-term lease, just through the summer."

Gingerich did not plan to return when the building owners approached her about breaking Local 46's lease in September.

"They brought the offer to the table," Gingerich told Denver7 at the time. "[The owners] said, 'How would you feel about wrapping up your season, and we part ways at the end so that we don't have to see what winter brings for everybody?' I think they're anxious to capitalize on either selling it or starting the demolition process."

"It sucked," said Irie Bockus, who worked at Local 46 for almost a decade — most recently as the bar manager.

"I was definitely shocked," she said. "I carried my daughter my entire pregnancy here. This place is just a special space."

Bockus found out about the bar's closure at an emergency meeting in September.

"It was so sad every single day," she said. "You don't know what to do, especially when your livelihood is in the service industry. And it feels like the service industry is almost dead now."

Bockus spent time on unemployment after Local 46 closed. She's found a temporary job to bridge the gap until the bar reopens in April.

"I've been here since I was 18," Bockus said. "It's very special to me."

"It feels really perfect," said Gingerich. Alongside her husband, Grant, she is planning a new venture once Local 46's short-term lease wraps up this fall.

Local 38, the new place, will be located at 38th and Perry. The Gingerich's don't have an opening date yet, but they plan to bring the Local 46 staff along for the ride.

"We've got our team all on board," Gingerich said. "The opportunity was just too good to pass up."

"It's like a new life," Bockus said. "Every day will be a celebration."