Italy’s bars find novel solutions for happy hour under lockdown

DESPITE a slight easing of lockdown regulations in Italy on May 4, bars and restaurants still have to remain closed until Monday. They have been permitted to offer a takeaway service, however, which is prompting some creative solutions for the popular evening aperitif.

Across the north of Italy, people begin their evenings by heading to the bar for an aperitivo, a drink and a couple of buffet snacks. Denied to them for nearly two months under coronavirus lockdown, Italians are keen to revive their tradition. Many bars have chosen to open for takeaway or delivery, requesting people ‘book’ their drink by calling in advance. 

The bars prepare the beverages in takeaway containers, such as miniature glass bottles or plastic cups with lids, which customers can then pass by and collect or have delivered to their houses. Consuming takeaway produce is currently not permitted in the streets, and some bars have taped off their seating areas under pressure from local councils. 

Photo: Rebecca Ann Hughes

In the Veneto, particularly renowned for its aperitivo tradition, some bars have found a novel way of delivering their cocktails. ATipico, in the city of Adria, is delivering its negronis and americanos in plastic sachets complete with lemon rind.

Although the similarity to blood transfusion bags is a little disconcerting, the initiative has proved popular with residents. “Going to the bar is a social ritual,” said one customer, “but the takeaways are fun and we’ll manage like this for the moment!”

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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