Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars

Bartenders cover the hits and misses of what’s been loss during the global pandemic.

Arts Movies & Television Triston Brewer

This article was published on July 22nd, 2021

How would you react if your career and industry folded in a day? In a new film release, viewers get insight into the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry throughout the NYC. Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars consists of interviews collected from front-line workers who were abruptly laid off and forced out of their careers for extended periods of time.

Produced and directed by Johnny Sweet, the film encompasses a handful of people from primarily three well-known bars in New York: The Sparrow, Diamond Dawgs, and Coogan’s. Sweet takes a smattering of workers that have battled through the pandemic to dissect the ramifications of COVID-19, the economic restrictions it has placed on them and their businesses, and what the future holds for the industry. 

Breaking Down The Bars

Starting in March of 2020, business in NYC came to a halt as the pandemic spread through the city and Queens became the epicenter of the crisis. With all bars and restaurants ordered to cease opening hours, thousands of hospitality workers were immediately without work and an unfortunate future. In the film, Jena and her friends delve into their frustrations of the pandemic and how the economic uncertainty has threatened and continues to jeopardize their lives. 

Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars follows four hospitality workers in New York City that have been affected by the pandemic who all present a no-holds-barred discussion on mental health, revisiting creative spaces, and reinventing themselves in order to survive. Viewers are able to get a unique perspective of what is happening in NYC as it interviews health professionals, medical workers, and others that are working on the front lines of the crisis. 

The Visuals and the Vision

The film presents a NYC that looks like a sliver of its former self  from the empty streets, stacked tables and chairs, and the evocative comments from those that are in the thick of the pandemic. The interviewees are open about the financial ramifications, the depressive states after months of COVID-19 affecting the city, and last but certainly not least – never ever giving up hope and looking ahead to envision a brighter future. Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars offers gritty, realistic perspectives of real lives and is a cinematic exercise in stressing empathy and understanding during such trying times. 

Where Are We Now?

Currently, New York City is slowly reopening now, and the film is a reminder for everyone to never forget the effects of COVID-19 and what could potentially be lost. With the city slowly starting to get back to normal and precautions set in place, it is still important for everyone to get vaccinated, physically distance, maintain proper hygiene, and wearing masks when in large groups. 

Last Call : The Shutdown of NYC Bars, which has a run-time of 59 minutes, is currently available online via Laemmle theaters ahead of a wide digital release on August 13, 2021.

What has been your COVID-19 experience the past year and a half? Let HomoCulture know in the comments section below. 

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