Monday night saw the return of New Yorkers sitting at the bar for the first time in over a year. The city’s pandemic restrictions had put a stop to locals pulling up a barstool and chatting with their favorite bartender.

The customers at Hibernia enjoyed being at the bar, even if they were separated by plexiglass.

We checked in on some local watering holes to see how things were going on the first night back, on the same day Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bars, restaurants, and other businesses can reopen at full capacity on May 19.

“It felt foreign five minutes ago, but five minutes after sitting down at the bar — it feels completely normal again,” said Hell’s Kitchen local Tom Hannon, sitting having his first drink at the Landmark Tavern.

Landlord Michael Younge got to chat to customers over the bar again at the Landmark Tavern.
Friends gathering at the bar at Atlas Social Club on 9th Avenue.

“Loved it. Great wings. The last time I sat at a bar in New York City was over a year ago,” said Ken Finegan sitting at Hellcat Annie’s on 10th Avenue and W45th Street.

Ken Finegan enjoyed his Scruffy Duffy’s Famous wings at the bar at Hellcat Annie’s.
Ferras has not been in a bar for over a year — and made his comeback at Alfie’s.

“It’s our first time back at a bar in over a year. It’s wonderful. It feels so good. New York City feels alive and there is plenty to do,” said Jamie Leonard and Marilyn Nedumcheril, who were sitting at the bar at Hibernia. “Come visit us in New York.”

(From left) Max Jeffreys and Robert Parker chat with McCoys bartender, Dani Turner.
Reflections of old times in the mirror at The Back Pocket Bar early evening.

We let The Gaf’s Austin Rogers (who you might also know from Jeopardy) have the last word on how delighted Hell’s Kitchen was to have customers back at the bar (especially Gareth Smith)!

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