As Malaysia officially enters the recovery phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO), more economic sectors are reopening and all businesses activities seem to have gone back to normal.
Our favourite hangouts and bars are also gradually resuming operations with safe distancing measures in place. However, it may take time for the owners to see a smooth recovery of lost revenue from previous months. It is reported that they were already experiencing up to 85% drop in sales since early April.
And while customers do not experience the same stress felt by bar operators, some have shared that they would also feel sorry should their favourite bar have to shut down permanently.
Because, for some, a bar is like a community
It is no surprise that customers who frequent bars would often find themselves within a ‘community’ due to their shared interests. It can be as simple as bonding over supporting the same football team, or bonding over the fact that you grew up in the same neighbourhood.
Gavin has always felt a sense of belonging when he visits the place:
Everyone knows you, and you know everyone. You help someone through a divorce; they help you through a work change. A bar is a community.Gavin, 38
The sense of community is not limited to just among customers; but sometimes include the bartenders and owners of the place as well. Some customers have their favourite bartenders, while others regard the owners like old friends.
The staff at my favourite bar remembers you by name, they remember your orders and the little preferences you have, some even happily book a taxi for you if you need. It’s always nice to go back to a place that treats you like a friend more than a customer.Lim, 45
While for others, a bar is a place where new opportunities are found
More often than not, a bar is a place to socialise and meet new people. This is also how a community is formed.
While the majority of new connections do not go beyond being a familiar face to say hi to whenever you visit the bar, some of these people could end up being a friend and even a business partner.
There’s a bar near my ex-workplace – I sometimes go there after work to chill. It’s also where I met clients who prefer a casual meeting, since the place serves really good food, too. That’s how I met my current business partner.Ken, 28
There are also a few who described their favourite bars as “sanctuaries”
Describing a place as a “sanctuary” implies that it is a place where one can seek refuge from unwanted things. For a small number of people, the bar is exactly that – a place where they can relax and forget about work-related stress for a while.
I think the reason why my favourite bars are ‘hidden bars’ is because when you finally find it, you are rewarded with this little space, tucked away, where you can get a nice drink. In a way, it’s like, an escape from real life for a while.May, 31
On the other hand, the reason why Evelyn described her favourite bar as a “sanctuary” is because of how familiar she is with the place.
I remember a few years ago my girl friends and I would always visit this bar. It’s not a big place, quite small and cosy, and over time I grew familiar with that area. The bartender, who’s a girl, was super nice and we can talk about anything. It’s my sanctuary, the vibe it gave me was just very assuring.Evelyn, 30
In return for the great memories our favourite bars gave us, it is time for us to help them now
There are some simple things we can do to show support to our favourite bars: Dine in when they are open for business; purchase cash vouchers from bars that are still not operating (if any) to use when they are allowed to do so; or tag them on social media and recommend to other friends.
Carlsberg has also launched an innovative way for people to support their favourite bars in the form of adopting a keg. According to the brewery, their Adopt A Keg campaign aims to help bars regain consumer footfall while rewarding fans of Carlsberg for consuming their beer at home during this period.
Banking on the momentum of our beer sales via e-commerce and off-trade consumption during the MCO, Adopt a Keg aims to reward our consumers with free draught beer on us while supporting their local F&B outlets.Carlsberg Malaysia Managing Director Stefano Clini
Basically, you can support your favourite bar by purchasing cans or bottles of Carlsberg beer from supermarkets or online stores, scan your receipts, and a ‘virtual keg’ that you ‘adopt’ in your chosen bar will be filled with the amount of beer purchased. Once the keg is filled, you can redeem two free beers from the chosen bar. Below is a simple step-by-step guide:
Most importantly, we should help each other by celebrating responsibly
Whether it is during the ‘new normal’ during the pandemic, or ‘back to normal’ should the pandemic be over, it is our responsibility to drink and celebrate responsibly.
Practise social distancing, and always have a designated driver or use an e-hailing service should you intend to enjoy some drinks at your favourite bar. It is important that we stay safe not just for our sake, but for the sake of others as well.
Help your favourite bar come back stronger by adopting a keg with Carlsberg and celebrating responsibly.
I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, gummy candy, and "Confucius says" jokes.