Every Friday you can find big and bustling crowds in some of Yangon’s most famous bars and pubs chilling under catchy pop songs —— the scenes of aimless chatter, bodies dancing and drinking under the sunset with a view of the pagoda, have now changed to chatting over a plastic divider, dancing one metre away from your crush and rushing for a last-minute drink before curfew.
Although precautions are being imposed by the government, it does not stop the comeback of bar patrons. While some bar patrons decide to shake up cocktails or order booze from takeaway apps, some of the city’s boozers have gotten ready for their post-lockdown pint.
Over the last two weeks, I went to some of the city’s classy watering holes to review how Yangon nightlife looks like after the lockdown, including The Penthouse, Burbrit Brewery and Vista Rooftop Bar.
Read on and I will tell you more why each sip is worth the risk.
Days after the lockdown was lifted, thirsty boozers flocking to enjoy a post-lockdown pint at the reopened bars could have been left disappointed after being separated with friends by a plastic divider or some bars closing down their terraces to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
At Penthouse, the Mediterranean restaurant and bar that offers Yangon’s most breathtaking view to drink by in its outdoor terrace, only allows patrons to drink indoors, as a bid to follow the social distancing rules. The bar is also maintaining 50% of capacity which each table keeps a distance of at least one to two metres with each other.
But one thing remains unchanged, the personal bartender who remembers where you live, the waitress who offers you extra wings on the house, and the unseen cooks, janitors and busboys, are always there.
Despite the changes, many of the city’s nightspots are indeed unable to reopen or suffering from loss. Level 2, an underground nightclub in Yangon announced on April 7 that it would temporarily shut down while looking for a new spot. Owing to the curfew, many of the nightspots are not able to reopen or forced to shut down. In other words, the hospitality and entertainment industry is currently in jeopardy.
While some nightspots are looking forward by expanding their services to take away apps and offering livestream DJ music, the fear of coronavirus has stopped some of the patrons to come out, as having a reminder of the Covid-19 onstage would defeat the purpose of turning to nightlife to escape the daily life problems.
Perhaps the more we experience prevailing through the hardest times, the more we will believe that we can get through it. Things won’t be the same afterwards, but for the moment let’s cheers !