Ace of Cups, Natalie's join growing list of music venues requiring proof of vaccination

Both announced this week that concertgoers will need to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of the event

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Ace of Cups owner Conor Stratton, right, with former owner Marcy Mays

When Spacebar announced plans for its reopening weekend, which is slated to take place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 13 and 14, the Old North bar and music venue said it would require all attendees to provide proof of vaccination at the door.

“I’ve known for a long time we were going to have [a vaccine requirement] when we reopened,” owner Ben DeRolph said in a July interview with Alive. “It’s going to be really interesting as we open. … We’re bracing ourselves for people showing up and being pissed off when they’re not allowed in.”

Neighboring venue Dirty Dungarees, which hosted its first concert since the March 2020 shutdowns on Friday, joined Spacebar in requiring proof of vaccination. Attendees can provide either a vaccination card, or a photo of the card matching a person's state ID.

Now, with COVID cases again rising amid the growing threat of the highly transmittable delta strain, two more venues have joined the push to require patrons provide proof of vaccination.

Earlier this week, Natalie's announced that it would require either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of the event to gain admission to concerts at either of its locations (Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza and Live Music in Worthington and Natalie’s Music Hall & Kitchen in Grandview Heights), a policy that has now been adopted by Old North venue Ace of Cups. Both venues are also recommending (though not requiring) masks for all patrons.

In an interview with the Dispatch earlier this month, Ace of Cups owner Conor Stratton said the venue was "strongly considering" a vaccine mandate, which is now published alongside information about purchasing tickets on the venue's website. "Ace Of Cups cares for nothing more than the safety of our staff, patrons and performers," the updated policy reads. "Because of this, we have decided to require proof of vaccination or a 48 hour negative covid test in order to attend any of our events here at Ace.

“It’s a touchy thing,” Stratton told the Dispatch in an article published Aug. 3“I think a lot of [venues] are on board with the idea but unsure of how to effectively enforce it.”

Not every venue owner has gotten behind the current push, however, with Skully’s Music-Diner owner Skully Webb telling the Dispatch that he was “not even considering” proof of vaccination for concertgoers at his Short North venue.