In early March, The Big Romance in Dublin was gearing up for the most profitable period of the Irish drinking season. With about 10,000 euros ($10,800) worth of beer in stock, it stood ready for the pint-wielding revelers who flood the city for the St. Patrick’s festival. Then the lockdown hit.
As the coronavirus swept across Ireland, the bar, which moved into the slowly-gentrifying district about 1 1/2 years ago, was forced to close its doors. Wedged into a narrow space with a curved bar and DJ turntables in the back, social distancing had already proved a futile exercise and was dropped after a day.