11 ways nightclubs and bars are getting social distancing right

Kevin Lamarque/REUTERSA Maryland bar added bumper tables to create a fun way for patrons to keep their distance.
  • Around the world, bar and nightclub owners are implementing unconventional ways to promote social distancing between customers.
  • Some owners are betting on robot bartenders and sit-down dance clubs becoming the new normal.
  • Here are ways bars and nightclubs around the world have decided to implement social distancing.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As people around the world reemerge from their homes, normal experiences might look, well, no longer normal.

Enjoying a drink during happy hour and heading to a dance club on Saturday night are taking new forms to promote social distancing and safety.

From robots serving drinks in South Korea to drive-in discotheques in Germany, here are some strategies bars and nightclubs have implemented to keep people safe.


DJs and guests are separated by plastic barriers at this nightclub in Bangkok, Thailand.

Athit Perawongmetha/REUTERSA worker cleans a plastic barrier used for social distancing.

The Sherbet club in Thailand placed plastic barriers for guests at the nightclub. The barriers are designed to encourage social distancing and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Bars and nightclubs have been closed in Thailand since mid-March, and Thailand’s government recently extended closures to the end of July in an effort to prevent a second wave of the virus.

However, nightclubs are eager to reopen and are preparing for the day that they can.


Pubs serve beer behind protective screens in England.

Joe Giddens/PA Images/Getty ImagesPhile Weaver, the owner of The Old Smithy pub in Church Lawford, Warwickshire.

The owner of The Old Smithy pub in Church Lawford, Warwickshire, serves beer behind a protective screen.

Bars, pubs, and restaurants in England can begin to reopen on July 4.


Table dividers are a common strategy to separate drinkers in New York City.

Noam Galai/Getty ImagesCustomers enjoy food and drinks outside the Boucherie restaurant in New York City.

People can now enjoy refreshing drinks and food as bars reopened to outside service on June 26.

Some restaurants and bars, like Boucherie in the West Village, added table dividers to keep customers separated while they drink.


Bartenders don beekeeper suits that function as PPE at a bar in London, England.

Mr Fogg’s House of BotanicalsThe botanical-themed bar plans to use the beekeeper suits as a form of PPE.

The beekeeper suits align with Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals fauna-themed bar in London.

While the bar is unsure when it will reopen, it’s decided that the beekeeper suits will help promote safety between guests and staff.

Underneath the veil, the bartenders will also wear a face mask.

“Now more than ever before, people will need spaces that spark a sense of escapism and imagination, and we are determined to adapt what we were doing successfully before to the new ways of operating,” co-founder Charlie Gilkes said in a statement shared with Insider.


A discotheque in Schüttorf, Germany, pivoted to a drive-in model.

Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance/Getty ImagesThe parking lot fits 250 cars, nearly 500 people.

Drive-ins have become a popular way for people to experience movies, comedy shows, and concerts all from a safe distance.

The Index disco in Schüttorf, Germany, took the safe design and hosted a disco night. Guests tuned into a radio station where a live DJ performed, and lights, smoke, and dancers flooded the parking lot to entertain guests.


These bright red benches in Belfast, Ireland, are filled with quirky messages to encourage drinkers to socially distance.

Liam McBurney/PA Images/Getty ImagesThe bright red benches are filled with funny messages to encourage patrons to keep their distance.

The Duke of York Bar now features quirky benches outside its restaurant.

Each bench has a fun message, like “6 inches can create a life, 6 feet can save one,” or “Fill the space with conversation.”

Each bench is designed to seat two people while they enjoy their drinks outside of the Irish bar.


Robots pour drinks at a bar in Seoul, South Korea.

Kim Hong-Ji/REUTERSSome worry that the robots will take away from the human element of chatting with a bartender, while others are happy that the experience involves less human contact.

Using bottles hanging from the ceiling, a robot bartender pours drinks for guests at the Coffee Bar K in Seoul, South Korea.

While the robots have been used at the restaurant since 2017, the bar believes these robots will serve an even more important role as people search for experiences that keep them safe.

A human bartender is still present to help where needed.


At a nightclub in the Netherlands, guests enjoyed music, lights, and dancing from the confines of a chair.

ReutersThe nightclub plans to use the chairs through the month of June.

To make sure guests socially distanced, the Dutch nightclub, Doornroosje, sat dancers in chairs 5 feet apart.

Thirty guests were welcomed to the club, which complied with the country’s limit on in-person gatherings. They enjoyed music from DJs, strobe lights, and dancing from their chairs.

“People really enjoyed being in our venue again and just having a little taste of the atmosphere and the loud music,” the club’s marketing manager told Insider.


Mannequins have become a common sight at bars around the world, like this one in Vienna, Austria.

OE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty ImagesSome restaurants are using mannequins to promote social distancing.

As Austria’s bars reopened, patrons joined mannequins at a bar in Vienna.

The mannequins were added to designate where customers can and cannot sit at the bar.


Or this bar in Istanbul, Turkey.

Umit Bektas/REUTERSSome bars used tape to indicate where customers can and cannot sit. This bar chose mannequins.

After being closed for weeks, bars could reopen in Turkey on June 1.

This bar decided to follow the country’s social-distancing guidelines by adding mannequins to designate where customers cannot sit.


This bar and grill in Maryland added bumper tables to its outdoor areas.

Kevin Lamarque/REUTERSMaryland bars and restaurants could open their outdoor seating for guests on May 29.

The 6-foot inner tubes offer an unconventional way of social distancing at a bar in Ocean City, Maryland.

Fish Tales added the tables on wheels to its outdoor seating area. That way guests can move and walk around freely without ever coming closer than 6 feet to one another.

“The whole idea is just to make people smile and give hope and do something fun,” Donna Harman, the restaurant’s owner, told Insider.

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