Photos by Cassidy Liston
Covid-19 came in like a whirlwind and stole 2020 from us. No summertime events, no vacations, certainly no cruises. Our favorite bars have been closed, reopened, and closed again with no sense of normalcy in our foreseeable future. Creativity has become a staple in running a successful business but that’s even more difficult when you can’t legally open your doors to patrons. The rolling back of take-out liquor restrictions has been a small life raft in 2020’s sea of uncertainty and I’m hoping it’s here to stay. Bars are wonderful places to meet friends and share memories. I miss getting a text from a friend asking if I would like to grab a happy hour drink and catch up, but if I can’t get that bump of serotonin I can at least get a well-crafted cocktail and support some of my favorite local bars from my couch.
The Hawk is the exact type of bar you might find me and a dear friend gossiping at on a Thursday afternoon. Their cocktails are always interesting but never pretentious. You pay for quality ingredients without any price gouging. Most importantly, you’re always served by a friendly face who will give you a drink recommendation or even let you try out a new recipe they have been working on. Establishments like that closing is of course a blow to the patrons but even more so to the employees and owners. Running a small business is hard enough without adding the element of a pandemic.
Like I said, creativity, more than ever before, is the backbone of running a successful business. So, when I saw The Hawk taking advantage of the new flexibility surrounding alcohol to-go, it was like my weekend plans had been made for me. Not only were they offering pre-mixed cocktails in bulk for some stellar prices (starting at $20) they also had 12-packs of spiked seltzers, bottles of spirits, and cans of local beers. I ordered online the night before, choosing their Watermelon Whiskey Fresca. Pick-up was easy and socially distant, not surprising the people were friendly as ever. The portion was generous and even came with instructions and garnish so you didn’t miss out on the craft cocktail experience. To complete the afternoon, I invited over a friend and we had a socially distant cocktail hour by the pool.
The drink was dangerously drinkable and the perfect pairing to a hot summer afternoon. According to our instructions it would have lasted up to five days in the fridge, but I had no expectations of even a drop lasting beyond the afternoon. There was the equivalent to seven drinks in the bottle and we were not disappointed by the amount. My only regret was not also grabbing a slice of The 4th Horseman pizza which they sell for $4 a slice to-go with any drink. After seeing the weather forecast for this upcoming weekend, I can’t wait to go back and try one of their frozen cocktails.
Being able to support local bars and restaurants during this bizarre time in our lives has been a small victory. I, for one, would love to see cocktails to-go stick around for the long haul, but I intend to fully enjoy it while I can regardless of its future. So many great options are dotted around Long Beach like Portuguese Bend, The Bamboo Club, Mezcalero that give you options on how you want to treat yourself while staying safe at home and keeping your favorite businesses going. I purchased a specialty mixer and a bottle of Breakwater vodka from Portuguese Bend a few weeks into quarantining and learned the hard way that my pour is much heavier than a seasoned bartender, but that’s a story for another time. Happy hour might look a little different these days, but the spirits still live on… get it? Spirits? I’ll see myself out.