Local restaurants are facing their worst stretch of the pandemic yet. The holidays usually shore up the industry for the slow start of the year. Without the company parties and get-togethers, without indoor dining, and without governmental aid, the winter promises scores of closures. The list of temporary closings — by no means guaranteed to be temporary — grows longer by the day.
Losing one’s corner bar or date-night go-to isn’t the end of the world, but it is the end of something unique. Bars and restaurants are animated by the people who work in them, the customers they attract, and the atmosphere created within. They aren’t soulless, and they can loom large.
They might be the source of one’s livelihood, as familiar as one’s own home to the cooks, servers, bussers, and bartenders that staff them. More often, though, they’re the backdrop for our lives: birthday parties, first dates, family dinners, gatherings held in mirth and mourning. At their best, a good dinner or drinks session transports us to a happier plane of existence, if only for a couple hours. They provide an escape from the day-to-day. That’s an experience many diners (and industry workers) have missed in the past nine months.
In that spirit, The Inquirer invites you to tell us about the bars and restaurants you miss — the ones that have either shut down, haven’t reopened, or that have been put in a pandemic holding pattern. Share a memory (or a few) that you have of your time there, and we’ll publish it before the new year. If you need a refresher, consult Michael Klein’s roundup of restaurants that have closed in 2020.