The Big Romance, a pub in Dublin City, has found novel ways to deal with its closure and survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Big Romance, located on Parnell Street in Dublin, has introduced a number of innovative means of raising capital since the Irish Government ordered pubs to close in mid-March.
In its online shop, the bar is offering virtual tabs that can be used to buy drinks when pubs eventually reopen. The Big Romance is doubling all virtual tabs, so a customer who spends €10 will have €20 to spend when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
But who wants to wait until the pubs reopen to have a drink? The Big Romance has an answer for that too -they're offering delivery of cans, growlers, and slabs of beer, as well as wine.
WE’RE NOW DELIVERING! We have just launched our pop up shop at www.thebigromance.ie where we’ll be delivering fresh...Publiée par The Big Romance sur Vendredi 3 avril 2020
The growlers cost anywhere between €7.50 and €21.50 depending on the type of beer and volume and customers can get €4 back if they return the bottles. This helps to drive repeat business, according to bar owner and founder Steve Manning.
Manning told Bloomberg that business could hardly be busier since the pub was shuttered.
"We almost struggled to meet demand at first," he told Bloomberg.
We’re back out on the road today! Orders before 4pm we’ll deliver today, after 4pm will go in to tomorrow’s run. Keep an eye on our website for the latest draught menu - https://t.co/CbCp1czTMj pic.twitter.com/NVipAcab47— The Big Romance (@BigRomanceBar) April 9, 2020
The innovative new measures mean business is booming for The Big Romance, and the owners have had to hire three delivery drivers to cope with the growing demand.
Manning said that the shift online has actually helped the pub to attract a different sort of clientele. While the pub has generally attracted crowds in their 30s, it has attracted a significantly older crowd since offering its new online services.
The lack of competition and the convenience of fresh beer delivered to your doorstep could have played a significant role in the shifting demographic.
However, it is not all good news for the bar.
Minister for Health Simon Harris hinted that pubs may not reopen until 2021 when a vaccine is developed due to the difficulty of properly observing social distancing. Most of Ireland's 7,000 bars find themselves in a perilous position and under a cloud of uncertainty regarding their immediate future and the prolonged closure of pubs would undoubtedly force a sizeable amount to close their doors for good.
While incentives like the virtual tab at the Big Romance are an excellent way to come up with capital in the short term and would virtually guarantee a busy pub in the future, they could prove to be something of a disaster if the pub never opens its doors again.
But, for now, the signs are good and The Big Romance might have shown the way forward for other Irish pubs trying to keep their heads above water.