"Virtual Happy Hour” helping bartenders gain an income

Posted at 7:45 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 08:53:06-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — A couple weeks ago, Visit Corpus Christi wanted to find a way to help local service industry members.

After hearing about a virtual happy hour in another city, the staff reached out to Luis Contreras, a long-time bartender in Corpus Christi.

Contreras began a Facebook page called, Virtual Happy Hour with Corpus Christi Bartenders.

It’s a private group, but anyone is allowed to join. Here, the concept is easy. Bartenders are assigned a shift for 1 hour. During that hour, bartenders will give their Venmo or Cashapp, so they can be tipped while bartending over the phone.

“The idea is, to make a couple drinks and whoever gets on there you can make good cocktails or shots or whatever,” Cassidy’s Irish Pub bartender, Casey Ortiz said.

Ortiz said she was skeptical at first, but heard how much money some of the bartenders were making and decided to give it a try.

During her live video she said she would donate her earnings to House of Rock, so she could give lunch or dinner to those working at Spohn Shoreline.

“I didn’t know she was gonna do that, and I was watching her live feed and just to hear say that I was like woah,” Contreras said.
After Ortiz’ first shift, she donated $450. Casey Lain of House of Rock matched dollar-for-dollar and together, they donated 40 20” pizzas to Spohn Shoreline.

Virtual Happy Hour has really taken off on Facebook, and Contreras says shifts are already booked halfway through April. He says he wants to give every bartender that wants the opportunity, a chance to have a shift.

“A lot of us that tend bar or that work bars, do it because we really enjoy it. And not having the interaction from the ones that have become our friends and family, kind of just takes away from everything in general.”