Social Distancing Rules, Tips, & Navigating The New Singles Scene
There was laughing echoing down the empty street, the sound coming from an outdoor table at a San Diego Gaslamp restaurant/bar.
It was obvious someone was having a good time.
This group was seated outside on Sixth Avenue and over on Fourth Avenue, a small group of four people were seated on the patio of Las Hadas, also having laughs.
San Diego’s bars and restaurants are open again and while I detailed the experience of what this is like in a restaurant, here’s a report on the bars and nightlife experience.
First of all, despite some laughter coming from small groups, the bars are quiet, quieter than you are used to it being in a bar. There’s no bands – tho Tipsy Crow in the Gaslamp did have a guitarist playing early on Friday evening – or DJ, no crowded bar noise that makes you have to talk louder to carry on a conversation.
With tables and bar stools space six feet apart, an inability to stand up or even walk around due to California’s Phase 2 rules and management enforcing the policies, this is not your normal bar experience.
You should also know that you just can’t walk into a place and have a beer. You have to order food in order to get a drink.
That being said, some creative bars have a clever way around this rule. At a bar in the Gaslamp, all I had to do was buy a big of chips ($1) in order to get a couple beers for myself and a friend.
This varies by venue, of course; one place told me people have to at least order an appetizer.
The biggest bar “action” is at the beach bars, in particular those in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. One was so lively that it was shut down the first day it opened because people posted pics of themselves on social media partying less than six feet apart. Authorities were quick to respond and El Prez Restaurant is now closed until further notice.
Mask Or No Mask?
You have to wear a mask to get into a place, but you do not have to wear it when seated.
And there’s no standing around, which takes away one of my favorite bar activities, leaning against the bar while talking to someone.
It’s really tough to socialize when you can’t get within six feet of someone.
My friend and I felt compelled to talk to a couple of girls when we were out on Friday night, but they were seated at a table at the far end of the bar and I was politely told I had to stay seated when I went up to the waitress, who was at the bar, to order another drink. So you can’t walk up to a table to start a conversation with someone.
Oh, and here’s something else to know about the new bar life. You don’t just go in and sit on your own. The staff has to seat you. My recommendation is to see if there’s an open table six feet close to a fun table and ask for it. That way, you can at least try and start a conversation – from a safe distance, of course.
San Diego Bars Phase 2 Nightlife Tip
Here’s a tip: the bars are busiest in the daytime and early evenings, and those with patios are the busiest, which makes sense because of San Diego’s great weather. Bars can stay open until 11 or maybe midnight. Check with the establishment if you are wondering about its closing time.
Going to a bar is not the same as it used to be and it won’t for some time. There’s limited seating and social distancing must be practiced but for many, it’s better than drinking alone, or drinking at home.