The world of hospitality (and the world as a whole) has changed a lot over the past week. Bars and restaurants across the country are shuttering in an effort to lessen the spread of coronavirus. Some properties are offering delivery and to-go food and drinks. But others have decided to simply close their doors and try to wait this whole ordeal out.
Right now, the length of the quarantine is unknown. It won’t be easy for many bars and restaurants to reopen after a few weeks of being shut down. If orders not to gather stretch for months, many of your favorite pubs, saloons, and speakeasies will never reopen. That’s why it’s so vitally important to support your local establishments in whatever ways you can afford and you deem safe. Because many of your local bartenders, servers, and chefs are either completely out of work or working far fewer hours than usual right now.
We asked some of our favorite bartenders and bar owners to tell us the best ways to support their bars and restaurants during this trying time.
Support The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
Natalie Migliarini, mixologist of Beautiful Booze on Instagram
At this point with bars being closed we have to shift to how we can help the hospitality industry as a whole. Currently the USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) has a COVID-19 Relief Fund which will support their Bartender Emergency Assistance Program here.
Buy A To-Go Cocktail
Marco Pastanella, head bartender at Otra Vez in New Orleans
I think one of the best ways to support your favorite bar will be to buy gift cards or for bars inside restaurants you can help by ordering to go/delivery cocktails.
Jordan David Smith, spirits director and head bartender at HALL in New York City
This pandemic has left bars and restaurants in a very precarious state, but as fast as things have changed around us, your favorite bars have likely changed as well to face these troubling times. See if your local bar has embraced delivery services: if they have, consider ordering lunch in (assuming they have a kitchen), buying your usual bottle of wine, your six-pack of beer, or even your cocktail (yes, that’s a thing now!) from your favorite haunt.
If they’re simply closed and riding this out, consider buying a gift card or merchandise — like a t-shirt or glassware — that you’ll receive when they re-open: the forced scaling down/closure of restaurants and bars is logical and necessary to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the workers and businesses at this rung of the economic ladder have nothing to catch them if we slip off of it. Every dollar that comes in during a time like this helps keep us solvent a little bit longer.
Contact Your Elected Officials
Kristian Niemi, owner of Black Rooster in Columbia, South Carolina
The best way to support your favorite bar and its staff is to contact your elected officials and urge them to put together a relief package that helps us through this without adding any additional burden. This is a sustained hurricane of economic hardships for our businesses and they need to step up and make sure we are able to reopen once it is safe to.
Kyle Walter, bartender at Grayton Beer Brewpub in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
It’s unclear the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on the economy, but the immediate impact it will have on our workforce is becoming increasingly evident. With the majority of our workers being made up of service industry members, now is the time to show the most support for your favorite restaurants and bars. While restaurants remain open in Florida, we are encouraging patrons to place orders to-go instead of dining in. If guests are staying home we support that too! Those who are not leaving the house can call their area bars and restaurants and order gift cards or merchandise if that’s an option.
Jake Larowe, bar manager at Birds and Bees in Los Angeles
The best way to support your favorite bar is to stay inside and stay healthy, so you can visit us when we reopen. If you would like to donate money to bartenders, which would be greatly appreciated, the USBG is doing a great job trying to help staff who have lost shifts.
Be Active On Social Media
Candice Madarang Dalton, director of food and beverage at Sabroso + Sorbo in Philadelphia
Believe it or not you can still support your favorite bars and restaurants during the shutdown while practicing social distancing and self-isolation! Our bartenders recommend purchasing gift certificates from the bars and restaurants — it supports these hurting establishments now and once bars and restaurants open back up, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a night out after all of this social distancing. Even though we may not be serving up cocktails during the shutdown, we still love to see your support online. Continue to like and comment on our posts, it means so much from our regulars. Another way to support your favorite hot spot is to order to-go food if the bar and restaurant offer it.
Order Gift Cards
Eric Jacobs, co-owner of J.Bespoke in New York City
One of the best ways to support your favorite bar is to purchase gift cards via their website, if they’re offering them. At J.Bespoke, we’re so thankful for the support of this community. As we are now closed temporarily to prioritize the safety of our community, our team is offering gift cards available for purchase that can be used toward a future visit. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase. This helps ensure your favorite bars will be back in action post-shutdown.
Adam Morgan, bartender at Blue Canoe in Tupelo, Mississippi
We’re going to do our best to keep our kitchen crew cooking and some tips still rolling in for the front of house. If you call in you’re welcome to come inside to pick it up or you can call us again when you arrive and we’ll bring it right out to you. We will be pooling all tips so please remember that any tip you leave will go straight into the pocket of someone that’s making a small fraction of what they normally make. Your kindness is appreciated.
Support Them When They Reopen
Tom Singer, owner of Pretty Dirty in Los Angeles
In general, if your favorite bar is selling gift cards for future use, pick up / delivery batched cocktails, or at-home cocktail kits, then purchasing these would be a big help. But the biggest help would be: when this is all over, to go out and support these local bars. It’s a hard question, with no easy answer, but as for all business who have closed and have close to no way to bring in revenue, we just have to weather the storm, and as soon as it is safe to do so, get out there and bring these venues back to life.
Ashley Thomas, Sailor Jerry brand ambassador
Supporting your favorite bar(s) while you are hunkered in your bunker is key. If they have gift cards buy some, you know you will be back there for your favorite beverage as soon as they reopen. Are you one of the lucky states that are delivering cocktails?! Order some! Reach out to people who work there and check in with them. Use all the social apps to connect with people, maybe try to recreate your favorite drink at home and have the bartender help you via IG.
Order Cocktail Kits
Jaime Salas, Milagro Tequila brand ambassador
As we all know bars run on very tight profit margins. A few ways to support your favorite bars during the shutdown would be to purchase gift cards to be used at a later date or ordering takeaway cocktails or cocktail kits (most states are now allowing cocktail delivery service) for in-home consumption. Support your local bars and restaurants so they are around to delight for years to come.