.grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }
Close this search box.

WEATHER ALERT: Severe storms expected late this afternoon and evening

Rose Bowl Tavern Adapts To COVID-19

The James Jones Trio performs at the Rose Bowl Tavern in downtown Urbana via Facebook Live on Wednesday April 15.

The Rose Bowl Tavern in downtown Urbana has been open since 1946, but it’s never experienced anything quite like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charlie Harris is one of the Rose Bowl’s owners. Illinois Public Media’s Brian Moline spoke with him about what happens when a tavern can no longer be a tavern.

Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline talks with Charlie Harris, co-owner of the Rose Bowl Tavern in downtown Urbana.

“A tavern is a place where people go to enjoy a drink with friends or with a bartender,” Harris said. “That is not what we are (now), so what we have done is, we have the Rose Bowl Bodega, which is a convenience store, and we have RBTV, which is online at all the normal sites, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, and RBTV is an arts and creative media company.”

Harris says the Rose Bowl is broadcasting live music via Facebook and other platforms a few times a week.

“Last (Wednesday) night we had the James Jones Trio,” Harris said. “James Jones, according to Facebook, has 4.6 thousand views, which is awesome.”

But he says it’s not generating nearly as much revenue as having the tavern open for business.

“We’ve done ten shows, and we’ve brought in about four thousand dollars total,” Harris said. “We’ve been paying the bands, and we also bought the camera, which is the meat and potatoes.”

Harris says they’ve applied for assistance from the federal and state governments, and from private sources, but none of that money has come through.

“We did make it into a waitlist (for the Paycheck Protection Program),” Harris said, “but we don’t know what that means. Does that waitlist mean that when they say that money has run out that we are part of that? Or does the waitlist mean that they don’t exactly know if that money will get to us? Or does the waitlist mean that we are not included?”

Harris says he’s not sure how long The Rose Bowl can keep operating under the current stay-at-home order.

“All of the variables are changing rapidly,” Harris said. “We don’t know how to calculate if we’re sustainable yet.”

You can find more information on The Rose Bowl’s bodega and RBTV on their Facebook page.

James Jones Trio live on RBTV. If you are willing and able, please throw us some digital coin?Health and Happiness to all! ❤️ ? https://app.omella.com/o/jh6Gn Venmo—> RBTVMedia

Posted by Rose Bowl Tavern on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Picture of Brian Moline

Brian Moline

Brian Moline is the Managing Editor of Illinois Newsroom and host of Morning Edition for Illinois Public Media/WILL. He's been with WILL since 2015, after a long stint at WDWS-AM in Champaign where he covered both news and sports for more than a decade. If you have story or interview ideas, you can reach Brian at bmoline@illinois.edu.

More Stories From Illinois Public Media