Virtual happy hours and living room dates are the new normal
Socializing and entertainment has changed dramatically since we started quarantining. The new normal includes Zoom happy hours with friends and watching our favorite bands stream live shows from their living rooms. On social media, I’ve seen couples dressed up in fancy suits or dresses to go on a date in their own kitchen, where takeout from upscale restaurants has been transferred onto to plates and bowls.
If you’ve exhausted your creativity and need some help having fun at home, Mystery wants to help. You might remember I did a story on them several months back.
“The original product is a planned night out where you tell us what you like and what you don’t like and we plan an entire night out that’s two to four stops,” said Mystery’s CEO Shane Kovalsky. “The catch is that you don’t know where you’re going until you get there. Our partners, restaurants, bars and activities are not available for people to visit in person these days, so over the past week we’ve pivoted our company a little bit. Essentially, we’ve put together a mystery night in, which a meal, an activity, and some surprises are all delivered straight to your doorstep.”
The night in has two price points, $125 and $150, with the option to add on extra meals or wine.
“I would say that these activities lean more on the crafty side. I don’t want to give away too much,” said Mystery’s Emma Biskupiak.
Plenty of people are pouring a glass of wine and using Zoom to have a group happy hour with friends near and far. But what about meeting new people? Having a bartender make you a drink? This is what Brooklyn distiller and writer Jackie Summers had in mind when he co-created Dani and Jackie’s Virtual Cocktail Hour.
“People don’t go to a bar to drink,” Summers said. “Anybody can drink at home, you go to the bar to socialize! Everyone is stuck home but they still need the social aspect of this. So I put together a situation where people can enjoy the social aspects of being in a bar while staying safe at home and exercising social distancing. While at the same time, we could put bartenders back to work.”
Almost every evening on Zoom, Monday through Saturday, they’re doing two virtual happy hours a night; one at 3 p.m. and one at 8 p.m. PST, to accommodate both east and west coast time zones.
“We have a guest bartender every single day,” Summers said. “We have different brands that are sponsoring this every single day. The bartender has about 15 minutes to give a cocktail demonstration. We open up the floor so people can ask questions directly to the bartender, and then we have a secondary guest with a focus on socially relevant issues. For example, last night we had somebody speaking about how to refinance your mortgage in a looming financial crisis. We had a PhD psychologist talk about how to manage your anger when you’re stuck at home. We had a relationship expert talk about how to get along with your partner now that you’re spending more of your time together. We are trying to give people not just good bar tips, but good practical information on how to be stuck at home.”
The happy hours are free, but guests are encouraged to tip their bartender through a provided Venmo link. Summers said bartenders have been walking away with an average of $250 a session. To join in on the fun, click here.