Typically, at this time of year Joe Robinson would be handing out a drink called the “Fa la la la la la la la” in a light-up sweatshirt at his island-themed bar in Detroit, The Skip.
“It’s literally insane,” he said. “People wait outside in the freezing Detroit cold for over an hour to get into this bar.”
This year, though, the same bar is barely scraping by, serving bottled cocktails with a swizzle stick, garnish and umbrella that fans can order online.
The bar industry is a fraction of the size of the restaurant industry but has endured a greater percentage of closings, according to business review website Yelp and research firm Datassential.
Many bars that don’t serve food have been completely restricted from seating customers; some have shut down or kept a trickle of revenue from to-go cocktails.