Nighttown customer leaves $3,000 tip ahead of club’s second COVID-related closure

Nighttown customer leaves $3000 tip on $7 bill to help staff
As Nighttown shuts down for the second time for COVID, a customer leaves a little extra to help...
As Nighttown shuts down for the second time for COVID, a customer leaves a little extra to help the staff(Brendan Ring)
Updated: Nov. 23, 2020 at 11:55 AM EST
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CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Nighttown, the iconic jazz and blues club on Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights open since 1965, will voluntarily close for the second time this year due to concerns over coronavirus.

In an unusual year, something truly unusual happened during brunch Sunday afternoon before Nighttown closed. A customer ordered a Stella Artois and handed the bill to owner Brendan Ring.

“Take care of this. Split it among waitstaff,” owner Brendan Ring remembers the customer telling him before he walked away. “Oh my God! He left a $300 tip on a $7 bar tab and then I put my glasses on. Right? And I looked down and I said, ‘Oh my God.’ It was a $3,000 tip!”

Ring has shut down Nighttown for a second time, a preemptive closure as he worries about a surge in coronavirus as Thanksgiving approaches. He initially wrestled with the decision.

“Am I doing the right thing? Is this the right thing to do? I have to consider my staff, right?” Ring says. “In the last two weeks, this COVID has gotten very, very close to all of us and I’ve had four customers, really close customers, get it.”

Three of his staff members who came in contact with those customers have gotten tested as well.

Ring says last week was extremely busy as customers supported him before he shut down and some patrons even placed large orders over the weekend to help, saying they would freeze the food. But it’s been a tough year for a restaurant previously open 364 days a year, closed only on Christmas.

“I spent 28 years at Nighttown and I never worked a day in my life,” says Ring. “I have fun. This is not a job. This year, it’s been a job.”

Ring expects to close for anywhere from six to eight weeks, or perhaps longer, if coronavirus doesn’t plateau. He doesn’t expect to reopen before the first of the year.

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