Responding to changes in the business environment under COVID-19, The Snug, a cozy Irish pub on 15th Street, has rebranded itself as an outdoor yacht-rock bar. The pandemic pop-up, called The Doobie Bar, will be open seven evenings a week.
Operating out of a small parking lot behind The Snug, the bar has a nautical theme, with maritime flags flapping in the breeze and a lifeguard stand where an employee with a clipboard takes customers’ names and calls them on a megaphone when their table is ready. Playing on the sound system are classic yacht-rock tunes by Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald, Toto, Hall & Oates and, of course, The Doobie Brothers (after whom the bar is named). The bar offers summery, tropical cocktails, along with a menu of backyard-style hot dogs cooked over a grill on the patio. In sum, it’s a far cry from The Snug, a dark, wood-paneled pub that, pre-pandemic, served whiskey shots and reimagined versions of old-school cocktails.
“We realized we couldn’t do things the way we were doing them before,” said manager Russell Martin, explaining the shift. Under the government shutdown orders, indoor bars have been closed, and outdoor bars can operate only if they serve food. (That explains the hot dogs, here called Doobie Dogs.) “An Irish pub doesn’t necessarily work on the sidewalk, but a yacht-rock bar does,” said Trevor Easter, the bar’s creative director and “yacht captain.”
The drinks menu features a mix of unique creations and cocktails from bars around the world made with artisanal ingredients and modern techniques. The Miami Vice—served in a kitschy plastic tiki glass in the shape of a palm tree—is a strawberry daiquiri (made with fresh strawberries) topped with a piña colada (made with real coconut). “Your brain wants to tell you this is going to be a total garbage sugar bomb,” said Easter, “but it’s a beautiful, made-from-scratch drink.” Another, the Chaquita Libra, is a take on the classic Cuba Libre, made with house-made banana rum, Mexican Coca-Cola, fresh lime and bitters.
In another response to the pandemic, The Doobie Bar offers completely contactless service. Customers place their orders on their phones using a QR code, and servers wheel the food and drinks out to the table for customers to grab. Payment is done by phone as well.
When The Doobie Bar opened for the first time Wednesday night, “I’d say half the crowd turned up in tiki shirts, with boat shoes on,” said Easter. “It’s a testament to how hungry we all are for something new and exciting.”
The Doobie Bar is open 7 p.m.–midnight nightly. 1800 15th St.