'Tis the season to reunite at the bars

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Thanksgiving eve is known as one of the biggest nights out in the restaurant industry.

That’s because it’s a time to reunite with old friends, family and relax before the feast on Turkey day.

Over at The Livery in Eau Claire, it was a busy night more than most Wednesdays.

“I would say it’s about more than double, probably triple on a normal Wednesday,” says head bartender Jessica Shafer. “You get adults, with the grandparents, with the kids coming home from college. This is a wonderful place to have everybody coming in so you get all ages.”

And a busier crowd means a bigger staff.

“We have two extra bartenders. We'll usually only have two on. Tonight we'll have an extra one, we'll have a bar back, we'll have a bouncer, we have an extra server on staff,” says Shafer.

Meanwhile closing time also extends to 2 a.m. instead of midnight, treating the eve of Thanksgiving like a weekend night.

But why is the beer and wine flowing more so on this pre-holiday celebration? Everyone seems to have their own reasons.

“I’m out tonight celebrating a little bit because we had a long three weeks of work,” says Dan Gharrity who came out with his work friends. “Tonight we can get together, we can hang out, laugh a little bit. Tomorrow’s all family.”

Shafer says more people like to treat themselves since everyone has returned back to town and celebrate with a few drinks.

“Tonight someone else is cooking. Tomorrow I’m cooking,” says Shelley Briggs who came out to relax with her coworkers. “I get to have a glass of wine and relax with friends.”

Denise Olson used to have reunion with her college friends during Thanksgiving eve. Now she’s out with her own kids.

“Just a little night to relax before all of the cooking and bustling and I wanted my favorite spinach salad before I eat really buttery fattening foods tomorrow,” says Denise Olson.

“We have a huge family so we just have the five of us for tonight, just a little bit more relaxed than tomorrow might be,” says Jordan Olson who took the drive home to eat at the Livery with her family before Thanksgiving Day’s feast.

Shafer says it’s a time when a lot of students and young adults come back home. Some choose to spend it with their families while others choose to reunite with their high school friends.

And with the holidays a big season for drinking, the Eau Claire Police Department wants you to be smart. Leave your car where it is if you have to, grab a ride from a designated driver or call a taxi because the cost of a taxi is much less than the long term effects and cost of a DUI.

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