Bars and pubs adapt in creative ways in light of Covid-19 lockdown

By Milly Richie

We find ourselves washed up, bleary eyed and dizzy, in the midst of a global crisis. The latest lockdown laws have resulted in the battering down of hatches to all UK hospitality venues. With what seemed like all prospects cancelled until further notice, businesses have had to get creative. Here are a few small ways bars and pubs are keeping calm and carrying on by bringing the best drinking and social experiences straight to customers’ homes.

It these times of isolation, there has never been a better time to show your favourite venues some love. The internet has made this almost effortless, with many businesses setting up online voucher schemes, often with generous discounts. Venues across the country are also using social media to reach out and engage with their community after closing their doors. Live streaming has become commonplace, not only recreating a night life vibe, but producing new experiences altogether.

London Cocktail Club is unveiling trade secrets with livestreams from bartenders’ kitchens, sharing recipes and tricks to make the perfect quarantine Daiquiri, while the ‘Virtual Artesian Bar’, hosted by bar manager Anna Sebastian, is posting short videos of some of Anna’s favourite cocktails, simplified for at-home accessibility.

Inception Group’s immersive cocktail bar Mr Foggs Society of Exploration has also gone digital with its ‘Explore Series’, sharing Q&A videos of guest speakers every Monday at 7pm.

Multiple clubs have been streaming live DJ sets from living rooms, creating funky and cheerful stay-at-home discos. Revolution, for instance, is posting weekly live sets from DJs around the world to bring the rave to the UK’s isolating public.

Various pub quizzes are being broadcasted across the nation, keeping Brits clued up at their kitchen tables. With one almost every night of the week, it’s time to assemble that team! Some are even offering prizes. The Pembury Tavern in London is hosting a quiz every Monday at 7pm, giving out a £20 bar tab to be redeemed once the pub reopens. These are bizarre times and it’s good to not always take everything too seriously.

Bristol wine bar Kask has started hosting virtual wine tastings. Instead of rescheduling its upcoming event, Kask delivered the wine and cheese samples to their bookings homes. Via Zoom, they connected with guests and their wine expert hosted as normal. Being unable to leave our homes can feel depressing, but the power of the internet means we don’t have to give up on our social lives, or stop trying new things.

Kask's virtual wine tasting
Kask’s virtual wine tasting

London’s specialist whisky bar Milroy’s of Soho has taken the same approach of not letting the situation ruin peoples plans. The team are launching a ‘Drams-to-your-Door delivery service’, releasing their whiskey collection into the outside world. Milroy’s will also be offering home tastings for all levels of whiskey enthusiasts and can be contacted for one of one consultations. Like many others out there, they believe that there has never been a better time to pursue a passion, so if whisky is your drink, why not treat yourself and learn from the best?

Bringing the booze to the people has become the new and only way of drinking. London’s renowned cocktail bars are delivering pre-mixed drinks to doorsteps around the capital. The list of bars proving this service is extensive, from The Sun Taverns ‘Quarantini Kit’ to Laki Kane’s own spiced dry rum and holiday-style Tiki mugs. A huge share of venues are doing free delivery within a few miles of them, making take-away partying easier than ever.

Nothing about this situation is normal, but we can assimilate normality. Through doing that, we can not only hold onto our sanity, but to each other. Brits can make the most of this by supporting the hospitality businesses they know and love, inviting the world into their homes and sharing these experiences.

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