A typical bar scene from pre-Covid days (Sarah Stierch/Flickr)

Soft lighting and loud music; the first sip from a foamy glass of cold beer; casual chat with the bartender; the smiling faces of friends gathering for a celebration; and a couple on their first date.

These are all sights and experiences that we’ve lost since the pandemic hit and made nights out impossible at bars in cities worldwide. Until that changes, you can console yourself with I Miss My Bar, an audio project with which you can recreate the ambiance of your favorite watering hole for a round of drinks at home.

With I Miss My Bar, you can be your own sound artist by mixing up seven different audio channels that play sound effects ranging from a bartender shaking cocktails to the hum of a room full of drinkers. The website also provides a music playlist to enhance the ambiance. And it has one major advantage over a real-life bar experience: You can tweak the volume of sounds that don’t play too well to your ears (I’m talking about you, loud blabbers).

Screenshot from I Miss My Bar (courtesy of Maverick MTY)

The initiative belongs to a cocktail bar in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico, named Maverick. In its essence, this is an advertising campaign for a bar, developed and designed by the design startup Lagom and the ad agency Tandem, which are both based in the city. However, it expresses the financial distress of nightlife establishments worldwide with an original and entertaining idea.

On its website, Maverick says: “We’ve made this modern digital artifact to keep you company while this awful pandemic, which profoundly affects our industry throughout the world, finally passes and we can meet again safely.”

We may miss bars, but they miss us a lot more. Restaurants and bars are among the hardest hit businesses since the pandemic began. Here in New York, an audit released by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in September of 2020 estimated that one-third to one-half of all bars and restaurants in the city could permanently close over a period of six months, potentially eliminating over 100,000 jobs. Official data on how many bars went out of business since the pandemic started has not yet been produced.

“As every hospitality professional in the world we, too, miss you [like] hell,” Maverick says on its website, urging users to try to find a way to support staff at their favorite local bars.

The Latest

Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...