When Bars Reopen, Grabbing a Beer Will Require a Reservation

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Finding a spot at a bar for a post-pandemic drink will in some cases mean using an app in advance as establishments look for ways to assure patrons they can avoid lines and imbibe at a safe distance.

Kind Regards and the Flatiron Room in New York City, Austin’s The Roosevelt Room and the En Garde Winery in Sonoma, California, are among those that have signed on for a reservation service with OpenTable, the online platform said Thursday.

The coronavirus crisis has hit bars and restaurants especially hard as more people eat and drink at home to cut infection risk. As parts of the U.S. and other countries begin reopening and consumers start to venture out, venues are looking to offer a safer experience.

“Bars and wineries must operate differently as they reopen,” said Andrea Johnston, chief operating officer of San Francisco-based OpenTable.

Read more: Reservations App Pivots to Takeout to Keep Restaurants Running

The Roosevelt Room, which calls its cocktail of absinthe and lime juice in a bottle of the Topo Chico mineral water “Death Valley,” is modifying its layout and limiting the size of groups in its booths, said Justin Lavenue, co-owner and operator. “OpenTable is helping us adapt.”

While wineries and some bars offering food have previously been on the platform, OpenTable is now available for all drinking establishments worldwide, the company said Thursday in a statement.

OpenTable, founded in 1998, says it connects diners with more than 60,000 eateries worldwide. The company, which was acquired by travel website operator Booking Holdings in 2014, is active in more than 80 countries, according to its website.

Read more: Americans Are Starting to Venture Out to Dine at Restaurants

“The opportunity coming out of this crisis is going to be bigger than we could have imagined,” Steve Hafner, chief executive officer of OpenTable and Kayak, which are part of Booking Holdings Inc., said in an interview.

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