CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Due to the closure of bars amid pandemic orders, local bartenders are getting creative and working online.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused the closure of non-essential business in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. One of those businesses is bars.
Fortunately, some innovative minds working at the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau, or Visit Corpus Christi, teamed up with local bartenders to offer virtual bartending shifts on Facebook.
"The idea came from a friend of mine who knew I was looking for ways to help our local service industry employees after hearing that all restaurants and bars were going to close," said Emily Zertuche, Digital Marketing Manager at Visit Corpus Christi for 5 years. "Sure, there’s take-out, but what about the employees who work off tips? How will they bring in an income?
Emily shared the idea with Meredith Darden, Director of Visitor Services at Visit Corpus Christi for nearly 6 years.
"It has been an adjustment but we are all very lucky and grateful to still be working," Darden said, "As a destination marketing organization, we love talking to visitors and encouraging gatherings, things that we are not able to do right now. For now, we are focusing on staying connected with our visitors and helping them make informed decisions."
Currently they are staying connected to the community through, "Virtual Happy Hour with your Corpus Christi Bartenders!"
Getting in on the socially distant fun is simple. After you have joined the Facebook group, you can check out the shift schedule to find your favorite local bartender and when they will be streaming. When you tune into their stream, you will be able to interact with them using the comment section and even send them tip money.
Local bartenders who want to sign up for a shift can join the group and request admin status from Amado Luis Contreras, a manager at Executive Surf Club in downtown Corpus Christi. He will give you further instructions about how to tend the virtual bar.
"The group member is assigned a work hour," Contreras said. "The member then creates an event through the group which includes instructions to join the group and their venmo account... We have bartenders lined up to teach mixology, talk beer, or just listen to problems."
So far, the idea appears to be a success. Josh Fraedrick from Nueces Brewing Company was the first brave soul to take a shift. SinceFraedrick's first stream, Mike Cantu From The Point, Hannah Berger from House of Rock and Surf Club, and bartenders Sharee Murski, and Sky Rose Shook have taken an online shift, raising over $1500 in 3 nights.
"It’s going so much better than we anticipated. Overnight, the Facebook group grew by over 1,200 members!" said Vertuche.
"I’ve heard from a couple of the bartenders after their shifts and they made some good money for an hour of Facebook live!" said Darden.
As long as the bars stay closed, the "Virtual Happy Hour with your Corpus Christi Bartenders!" will be active for your entertainment.
FInd more information by clicking here.