With the Covid-19 pandemic still roiling the country, bars and restaurants across the nation are grappling with the difficulties of staying afloat through one of the toughest times the industry has ever faced.
As a result, some bars have resorted to crowdfunding in order to pay their rents and keep their doors open. From legendary watering holes in New York City, a beloved jazz club in Los Angeles, a longtime Seattle dive and everywhere in between, here are ten bars that are asking for your help right now.
The Blue Moon
A favorite dive for residents of the Emerald City since 1934, The Blue Moon is known for frequently hosting everything from open-mic nights, opera, singer-songwriters and comedy. Thanks to Covid-19, they are struggling to stay afloat and have set a goal to raise $40,000. “If we meet our fundraising goal,” organizers wrote on GoFundMe, “We can offer paid time off to those of our lovable and deserving team who will continue to work no or limited hours as we reopen.”
Located in the Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, Subterranean’s status as a club that relies on large crowds makes it more difficult than other bars that can rely solely on outdoor cocktails. As a result, its owners launched a GoFundMe in May in order to pay the bills until the financial stresses of Coronavirus pass. Wrote the owners: “Unable to socially distance, we’re not be able to open (our) doors for shows. We fear that we cannot hang on that long and that we will be forced to close our doors forever. Please, please help save Subterranean so we can be there for you in the future when we can all dance again.”
The Stonewall Inn, Julius’ Bar, Alibi, Henrietta Hudson
New York, New York
Four pillars of the LGBTQ community in the Big Apple are also requesting urgent help. The Stonewall Inn (the birthplace of the modern-day gay rights movement), Julius’ Bar (the Greenwich Village institution that holds the distinction of being the oldest gay bar in New York City), Alibi (the only openly gay bar in the Harlem neighborhood) and Henrietta’s (the oldest Lesiban bar in the United States) have all launched GoFundMes to help their respective businesses to survive. Losing any of the three would not only mean one less place to drink, but one less safe space for members of the LGBTQ community. Said Alexi Minko, owner of the Alibi: “Please help us keep our rainbow flag flying high until this pandemic ends.”
Henrietta Hudson: GoFundMe.com/F/HenriettaHudson1
Bullfish Bar and Kitchen
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Carribean bar and restaurant made national headlines earlier this year when the New York Times podcast The Daily featured the story of immigrant owners Angel Lombrage (the Bullfish’s chef) and wife Jasmine’s financial struggles in the face of Covid-19. The two were not just at risk of losing both their business and home, but also frightened for the health of their daughters (one is immunocompromised). Already, the two are up to date with their payments and are close to meeting their fundraising goal:
Catalina Jazz Club
Los Angeles, California
Open for 34 years, this Los Angeles jazz club is known for its vibrant live scene which has provided an outlet and solace for residents and visitors alike. Eloquently put by Catalina’s owners: “Music is our elixir for the soul. And that is precisely why the Catalina Jazz Club has devoted its whole life to pouring you its finest concoction — Jazz. For us, Jazz is our way of life. It breathes pain. It knows love. It dreams hope. It bleeds courage.” Covid-19 be damned, they are hoping to continue that way of life.
Hickory Street Lounge
Deep in the heart of Texas, the modest Hickory Street Lounge has a similarly modest goal to raise $5,000 to help keep their beloved watering hole serving beer and cocktails into the future. “I’m reaching out to the loyal patrons of Hickory Street Lounge to try and support the staff and the bar,” said organizer Courtney Hawkins. “All proceeds will go to the staff and (to keep) the lights on.”
Noting that they are “taking one last shot at staying alive,” owner Johnathan Korty launched a GoFundMe in late June to raise the necessary cash to keep their doors open, calling Peri’s is not so much a bar but a social hub. “Of course, running a bar/nightclub during these uncertain times is not easy,” he admits. “But we will do everything we can to make Peri’s thrive. This fundraiser gives us a fighting chance.”