The Red Carpet in downtown Saint Cloud is still operating thanks to Barstool Sports. Photo credit: Arsalan Khan
Written by: Arsalan Khan
The Red Carpet, a St. Cloud nightclub, will receive monthly support payments from a national funding campaign created by sports- and pop culture-focused digital media company, Barstool Sports.
The Red Carpet will receive support for as long as the pandemic is damaging the nightclub’s business and funds are available (at least three months), according to The Barstool Fund website.
The Barstool Fund is a campaign that raises money for 30 Day Fund, Inc., which in turn was created to help small businesses save jobs by helping with expenses like payroll, rent, utilities and health insurance.
“The Barstool Sports funding was a gift from left field,” said Rick Gaetz, the owner of Red Carpet, “who knew that private companies out there were so deeply concerned about Main Street Businesses of America that they actually are doing something to alleviate their pain. Kudos to them.”
The future is looking brighter for the Red Carpet.
“The bar is eager to get back into the swing of things, but government restrictions continue to put the brakes on moving forward,” said Gaetz.
Restrictions on event group size, total occupancy of 250 people and early night time closure at 11 p.m. makes it difficult to operate profitably, said Gaetz.
As for the future we are waiting for further easing of restrictions so that we can open up our entire facility and get back to doing what we do best: providing a fun party atmosphere.
WJON interviewed Adrienne Donnel, the bar manager at the Red Carpet, who said for a bar that thrives on live music and events it’s sad to see the bar so empty.
“We’ve only done acoustic acts up here in the Martini Lounge last summer out on the patio,” said Donnel. “We did do one burlesque show in the event center and one drag show in the event center, and a whole lot of comedy, comedy seems to work really well.”
The Red Carpet is the heart and soul of downtown St. Cloud. The streets have been empty and less crowded since the pandemic lockdown of March 2020.
Ryan Connelly who is a regular bar visitor and martini lover said that he got excited after hearing Barstool funding made the call to the Red Carpet, one of his favorite St cloud nightlife experiences during in college and he knew he just had to go and get a delicious martini from the infamous martini lounge.
Now things are vastly different. The Red Carpet is no longer as lively, fun, noisy place as it used to be. Requirement of wearing a mask is a constant reminder that we are still living in restricted pandemic times.
“My date and I showed up early, around 6 p.m.. Nobody was there except us and staff. We ordered martinis and proceeded to chat intermittently with the bar keep,” said Connelly. “We asked what events may be coming up. They said they would be having a musician to test out if people could handle the responsibility.”
Unfortunately it looks like the Red Carpet and pre-COVID, normal downtown life will not be back at least for a while.