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Have #TheVirtualHappyHour to support the hospitality industry

A group of friends from the hospitality industry launch donation-based #TheVirtualHappyHour initiative in a bid to provide an extra boost to suffering bars, pubs and restaurants. With government advice to avoid pubs, clubs and social venues, and looming lockdown, the outbreak of Covid-19 is drastically impacting the hospitality industry. Some measures, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Tuesday’s daily televised coronavirus update, will go some way to alleviate certain financial pressures, but much more is needed to keep the hospitality industry afloat.

In a bid to give an extra boost to venues, a group of friends from the hospitality industry have launched #TheVirtualHappyHour campaign to bring people together, virtually, for a round of drinks. Despite social distancing, people are still able to interact with each other online, so instead of enjoying a happy hour at the bar, the campaign encourages people to join in # TheVirtualHappyHour. Grabbing a cocktail, wine, beer or coffee and catching up with friends and family in a bid to reconnect communities with increased digital social interaction.

When the Happy Hour is finished, everyone in the group donates the price of their drink to the group’s favourite bar. This is organised directly between the group ‘leader’ and the venue to ensure the funds are transferred directly, an email is suggested. Every #TheVirtualHappyHour hosted aims to help the hospitality industry’s efforts to survive the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

#TheVirtualHappyHour team are also encouraging hospitality venues to promote the campaign themselves through their social channels to enlist their regulars to replace their usual Happy Hour with a virtual version.

Steph DiCamillo May, part of the team behind the concept; explains the thought behind the initiative: “Our hospitality industry is more than just food and drink. They are places where communities unite, spaces where people come to celebrate, commiserate and surround themselves with friends and family in the bad times, and the good. Our hospitality venues offer a place where problems (normally) seem solvable after a few cheeky ones. Social distancing and self-isolation means these occasions are now pretty much impossible, so #TheVirtualHappyHour team want to encourage people to reconnect safely, whilst ensuring we are doing as much as we can to help the bars, pubs & restaurants we love, survive the next few weeks and months ahead.”

Emma Murphy, Co-owner, Hacha, the first bar to benefit from #TheVirtualHappyHour, commented on the campaign: “ In this time of social distancing and uncertainty for our industry, #TheVirtualHappyHour is such an inspiring concept that really gives us such an incredible feeling of gratitude and hope. Not only is it a wonderfully kind gesture of support for the independent bars and restaurants that have already begun to suffer financially – but it also unites friends and families, albeit digitally, over a drink or two…something that has been a crucial cornerstone for our culture for centuries. We at Hacha are very grateful to have been the first Virtual Happy Hour destination!”

How to host #TheVirtualHappyHour

● What? Host # TheVirtualHappyHour with friends remotely and donate the cost of a normal round to support your local pub, bar or restaurant. Photos: ; @thevirtualhappyhour #thevirtualhappyhour

● When? Set a time and date to invite your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, dog walker, PT, babysitter, golf buddy to meet up digitally..for whenever you have the time, or would normally meet for Happy Hour drinks!

● How: Google Hangouts/Zoom/FaceTime/Whatsapp video – use whatever platform works best for you!

● Where: From the comfort of your sofa. Heck, you can wear your PJs!

● Don’t forget: To donate! (Contact your local of choice directly and see how they want to receive payment – donate the price of the round to your group’s favourite bar – PayPal / BACS / voucher etc – cash not recommended) See our FAQs for more information on this!

● Post a photo: Of your Happy Hour on Instagram or Facebook and tag the local venue you are donating to with the hashtag #TheVirtualHappyHour so the team can share far and wide to benefit the whole hospitality industry

About The Virtual Happy Hour / FAQs

1. Who is running The Virtual Happy Hour?

You are! The thought behind #The VirtualHappyHour was that people themselves are in control of the logistics so they can fit it into the mayhem that is this new world

2. Who came up with the Virtual Happy Hour?

No one person really – this was an amalgamation of a bunch of brilliant ideas people in the hospitality industry were starting on their own to help out their friends

3. How do I donate to the venue?

Because every bar, pub & restaurant is different, we didn’t want to tell you exactly how to do this. We also want the donations to get to the venues as quickly as possible, so people doing this directly, seems like the best way. The way we see it working is:

● Invite your friends to join you for #TheVirtualHappyHour

● Set a time and your chosen platform for your friends to join you – with their drink of choice ready!

● When finished, everyone sends their donation to the group leader who is in charge of payment

● The group leader calls / emails the venue, to work out their preferred way to donate: Paypal, invoice, voucher purchase, bank transfer, card payment over the phone

● Remember, to be safe in whatever method you choose – follow the WHO recommendations, local guidelines, and don’t use cash

4. How much should I donate?

This will depend on where you live. In major cities we suggest £10/$10/ 10 per drink. In smaller towns, look to what you would pay for an average drink. But this is up to you. Every bit does help, so contribute what you can.

5. How long should #TheVirtualHappyHour be?

Up to you! But we recommend 30-45 minutes. Enough time to catch up and have a drink!

6. What should I drink?

Whatever you want. Beer, wine, cocktails, tea, coffee, even milk! Ok, maybe not milk. Another recommendation is to see if any of your local bars are delivering. Many places have had rules relaxed to allow delivery of drinks and food and this is another way you can support your local bar and restaurant.

The likes of Hacha, The Sun Tavern & Scout in London are offering delivery of their bottled cocktails.

7. Who should I donate to?

We recommend your local independent venue – these are the places that are going to be hardest hit. If you live somewhere that people depend on tips, consider making a direct donation to a favourite bartender, server, or barista.

8. What imagery can I share?

Find campaign imagery at

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