With the bars closed or severely limited in function, many of those in the service industry are out of work. But a “Digital Happy Hour” Friday evening sought to provide some relief.

Hosted by Jeremy Cooney for State Senate, several local bartenders and restaurant owners joined in on a video conference fundraiser to benefit out-of-work bartenders. The participants showed viewers how to mix cocktails, and discuss the current financial crisis many of them are facing.

Peter Moore is the owner of the Bachelor Forum in Rochester, and had to lay off 11 employees this week.

“Which are, you know all -- sorry, I’m a little emotional -- all family members,” Moore said.

Moore says the financial situation bartenders are facing is dire, but he is also worried about his staff’s emotional wellbeing, which is why he is checking in with them regularly.

“Just to make sure everybody is safe, happy, secure. It’s a tough time right now,” Moore said.

And as one of the largest LGBT bars in Rochester, he’s also worried for his patrons who have nowhere else to go.

“I have guys that come in, not because they’re alcoholics. But because we’re family, and it’s a place they’re comfortable with,” Moore said.

Donny Clutterbuck is the bar manager of Cure, and was temporarily laid off along with his employees. But to stay afloat, his bar is taking the creative approach of selling pre-mixed cocktails online that will be delivered by himself or the owner.

“We still have to pay rent and utilities, so that means we have to have some kind of revenue even if we’re not paying employees, which at the moment we’ve laid everyone off,” Clutterbuck said.

The cocktails, including the one he mixed Friday night, can be purchased online.

And the money raised by the Digital Happy Hour will go to the Catholic Family Center, and that money will be distributed to out-of-work-bartenders who apply. Those interested can text TIPSBACKROC to 41444 to donate, or follow this link.

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