If we’re going to sit at home and use technology like Zoom and GoFundMe to create some facsimile of bar banter and tipping, why not enjoy something closer to our actual watering holes? That’s the idea driving ‘Virtual Cheers,’ a new mod employed by dozens of bars.
Basically, Virtual Cheers builds on the existing “virtual happy hour” concept popular during the lockdowns. Guests can visit the site and order signature “drinks” from each venue. The “tab” is used to provide fiscal relief to bartenders. Guests receive a Zoom background featuring their bar’s familiar interior.
Not only does the donation go to a good cause—the donations are made directly to the bars’ fund—but the effect is pretty cool. In Neat Pour‘s tests, it really does like you’re sitting in the bar.
“All we [guests] have to do is donate a round, download their background, and cheer in their name. But these virtual parties can translate to real change for the staff and people who run these bars,” says co-creator Mandru.
The project was the brainchild of RXM Creative, a Brooklyn based creative agency co-founded by Mandru.
“The idea came from the RXM Creative team. As we were all working from home, we brainstormed together ways in which we can help the community during these challenging times,” explains Mandru. “Since we were all on Zoom and we were all wishing we were in one of our beloved bars, Virtual Cheers was naturally born and we have amazing partners like Convicts, Lion & Lamb Communications, or the NYC Hospitality Alliance that came on board to help.”
As the partners grew, so did the participants. RXM reports over 50 applicants so far including some big names like Dante, Death & Co., Amor y Amargo, and Leyenda as well as some downtown NYC fixtures like Von, Duplex, and Botanica. But, the project is growing to more locations daily.
“New bars are signing up everyday and we’re talking about new events everyday. We are providing bars with all the tools to create their own virtual events, from technical support to a poster format that they can adapt,” says Mandru. “We are very happy to see bars and people adopt it and make it grow.”
To help out, guests need only visit the Virtual Cheers site and download a Zoom background of their local bar. Donations are listed based on the cost of a round, but any contribution is appreciated.
Bars are welcome to sign up. There is no cost and the donations are direct to each bar’s own GoFundMe or Venmo page. To get in on the cyber sips, just email (from your business email address) firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bar’s should include the following info in their emails:
- Business name, address and contact
- Funding platform link e.g GoFundMe
- Attach background image of bar or restaurant: minimum 1280×720 jpeg, png