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Boise bar gets creative, hosts daily 'virtual happy hour' during coronavirus shutdown

The Whiskey Bar's at-home happy hour is a chance for folks at home to get drink-mixing tips and pointers, while also providing an income for local bartenders.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho's statewide stay-at-home order means bars and some restaurants are having to get creative in these uncertain times.

If you own or operate a bar, you are limited on what you can offer customers right now.

But the Whiskey Bar in Boise has found an innovative way to keep their patrons entertained with a virtual happy hour.

Starting Monday night, the at-home happy hour is a chance for folks at home to get tips and pointers from local bartenders - on Facebook and Instagram.

"We've got five different bartenders from their homes putting content together and we're trying to make it as relatable as possible," Whiskey Bar manager Chris Bailey said.

The virtual happy hour will take place Monday - Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. through April 17.

According to Bailey, it's a chance to make a connection when so many people are having to self-isolate. It's also an opportunity to learn something new.

"One of the biggest things is people come into the bar all the time and say, 'I tried to make your whiskey sour at home, but I can never do it as good as you guys,' he said. "So this will be their big chance to conquer that at their house.

"And then if you want to play along and make some of the cocktails with us at home, you can [tag] #WhiskeyBarBoise on Instagram or Facebook and we'll be giving out some prizes and whatnot," Bailey added.

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The virtual happy hours will also be a way for bartenders to earn a living when they can't go into work.

"So whatever bartenders we have going with the happy hour, we're going to tag their Venmo account on there too so if you feel like tipping your bartenders during your happy hour session, then you can feel free to do that," Bailey said.

The hope is that the virtual happy hours will be something customers remember once everything returns to normal.

"Just have content for people to relate back to Whiskey Bar so when we're back open, just come back in and say, 'Hey, thanks for doing that. I needed my fix while I was out. I always try to make cocktails at home and you guys pulled me through it,' is kind of our goal with that," Bailey said.

In general, Bailey said, he is focused on staying positive as bars everywhere take a major hit to their bottom line.

"Just staying in contact with everyone and keep a positive attitude about everything," he said. "Just hoping everything passes through and everyone does the right thing to get this COVID-19 passing through and hopefully get back to work," he said.

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