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Voices

#LookingForward to Going out to Bars Again

#LookingForward is a new series by Flying Ketchup, where we talk about things that we miss about the “Old Normal.” It’s both a reminder of the not-so-distant past, and a way to build up some excitement about the future. What are you #LookingForward to doing again? Let us know, and you might get featured in the next article!

It depends on what your mood is. Sometimes you just want the noise and flurry of people in a packed bar, or sometimes you just want the peace and quiet of a speakeasy. We took for granted the freedom of having a mercy of a drink in a nice bar. Then the quarantines started, and with it, the dreaded liquor bans. It felt like it was the end of going to bars as the world shut down.

It’s the experience of going out that we miss. Meeting up with friends after work. Celebrating victories in life by footing the bill. Drowning out sorrows with alcohol and conversation. Getting food – sometimes fancy, pairing it with fine wine; sometimes just fat and carbs to go with cheap beer.

You don’t even have to drink to go out with your friends in bars. You’re there for the conversation and the companionship. There’s something about going out to bars and restaurants in the “old normal” that brings us together as city-dwellers. It’s a way of life, something common, something normal, that everyone has experienced in one way or another.

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The Rise of the Online E-numan

Now, the responsible thing to do is to stay and drink at home. It gets old fast, because there are only so many spots in your house you can drink in. Sure, the conversation and companionship is still there if you decide to meet up with friends online. But staring at a screen for hours with a drink in hand is incomparable to sitting across someone, jokes and kuwento cutting through cigarette smoke.

It’s the delays that are off-putting. Conversations aren’t as fluid. You miss out on a lot of social cues that you subconsciously pick up in face-to-face interactions. You don’t even know if a person you’re having an e-numan with is paying full attention to the topic, or if they’re browsing something else on their computer.

We will find a way to interact

It’s getting better, though. Maybe we’re already adjusting to this new way of interacting with each other. And you have to admit, drinking in your pajamas or pambahay with friends is really comfortable.

A lot of bars may not survive the pandemic, and we have definitely missed out on some plans we made. But the business landscape is changing fast, and the bar and club culture should be adapting accordingly. Bartenders wearing face shields, plastic dividers everywhere – we won’t be buying drinks for the other table anytime soon.

Humans remain stubborn – we continue to find ways to interact with each other. For now, technology is the key to bridging the gap between the “old normal” and our new reality. It should only get better, as we migrate more basic human interactions online. And slowly, we will also be able to again go out to bars, and sit and talk together, in whatever new form that may be. We’re definitely #LookingFoward to that.

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