One of the most difficult parts of lockdown for many people was the lack of socialization. People who were used to going out to bars and restaurants regularly were locked away from their friends and and favorite place to eat and drink. Since lockdown has been lifted, or at least eased in many places, bars and restaurants have started to re-open. This means hoards of people who have been trapped inside forced to eat their own food and drink beer out of their own fridge are ready to go out and get back to a “normal” life.
Going out since lockdown still seems a bit uncomfortable and almost like you are breaking the rules in some way. A lot of times you will have to wear a mask while being shone to a seat even at bars where you used to just seat yourself. Also, don’t forget the hand sanitizer that will be at the entrance of almost every place you go. It isn’t like going to the bars of old where you could rock up to the bar, grab a drink, and start chatting up the nearest person, almost every place I have been to since lockdown has lifted has become more of a sit down restaurant (where you can’t leave your seat aside from using the restroom).
Despite the new rules, regulations, and general uncomfortableness of going out now-a-days, I have noticed that most places I go to are basically packed to capacity. This partially has to do with the fact that places cannot fill out their building to full capacity in order to maintain social distancing, but I also believe that many people are so excited to be able to go out that they are making up for lost time. These new rules have lead to many places requiring reservations to get food or even drink at many of the bars I have tried visiting. While it absolutely makes sense to have reservations so you can plan capacity and also keep track of who is where for contact tracing, it still takes away from the magic that used to be “lets go out and see where the night takes us”.
One advancement that I have seen in terms of dining/drinking experience at many bars and restaurants is the implementation of an app ordering system. You basically scan a QR code, enter your table number and order what you want and pay on the spot. This is a welcome adjustment for many who do not want to be bothered to get their order or for the people who need a few beers in the time it would take the typical server to come back and ask for the order. This has made sitting at bars more enjoyable in a lot of regards. That said, being allowed to go up to the bar, chat to the bar tender, and possible meet a few people on the way was one of the more fun things to do if you were out looking to make new friends.
It probably sounds like I am talking down about the new “normal” for going out to bars and restaurants but I am not, I am simply pointing out some of the bigger differences that I have noticed as an avid bar/restaurant goer. I am definitely extremely happy things are starting to open up again and very grateful for the servers and staff that are working to make that experience more enjoyable for all of us. With all of this in mind, stay safe, go enjoy some of the life you have been missing, and don’t forget to tip you servers!