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All around New York City, patrons that enjoy a nice cocktail and meal at the end of a workday began reemerging in July, giving restaurants and watering holes a much-needed boost. Younger patrons tired of Zoom “happy hours” are leading the comeback of what is now being called “social hour,” helping out some of the trendier and hardest hit parts of the city, like Midtown and the Financial District.

“There’s a happy hour economic ecosystem that exists,” explained Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. “It’s such an important part of restaurants and bars.”

Summer’s warmer weather has helped motivate bar customers. Even some restaurants that previously shut down their bar areas are serving drinks again. Local searches for happy hours in the city are spiking, according to Google Trends. Interest increased by nearly five times compared to the summer of 2020.

“Some of our local restaurants at 4:30 or 5 on a Friday are quite crowded now, looking like they did pre-Covid,” added Rob Byrnes, president of the Midtown East Partnership. “People want to see other people again.”

Trendier spots downtown that attract younger patrons, such as rooftop bar Mr. Purple, have seen larger crowds than Midtown bars and restaurants.

“It’s really the younger demographic in their 20s or 30s that have been clamoring to get back out,” said Byrnes. “A lot of people who frequented Midtown locations don’t have to come into the city because they’re not back in their offices.”

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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