By CJ Cross, Owner
In a thriving community a ‘Third Place’ is that social space separate from home (first place) and work (second place). The place you meet up with your friends, family, and co-workers away from the stresses of the home and workplace. Covid-19 not only took away a lot of people’s workplaces, but it took away almost all of our third places as well. Hops N Shine, like many restaurants in our community, was to many people their go-to third place before the pandemic. Many of our Del Ray and Arlandria neighbors would walk here after getting home from work to meet up with other neighbors and friends, luckily for us they still do.
Within the first weeks of the pandemic, we were determined to give people that feeling of a third place, even if they couldn’t dine in at Hops N Shine. We started doing family meals and seeing families share them in their front yards. We held virtual beer tastings with local breweries and were amazed to see people stay on the Zoom calls for hours after the official tasting ended just sharing in the community. And we provided meals to those in our industry who were out of work, as a third-place is as much a place to gather as it is to seek support from others.
Now, as things begin to open up, we’re bringing back the in-person community building. Just last weekend we held our first in-person Yappy Hour with Project Second Chance. Starting in May we’re bringing back trivia, arts and crafts like sip and paint, and we’re planning our first in-person backyard beer festival to celebrate our 2 ½ year anniversary in June. I would like to invite everyone to come and experience what we love about being a part of the vibrant neighborhood of Del Ray and the city of Alexandria.
During Covid, these communities jumped to action and the drive to share their meals and activities on social media.
"Now that vaccines are in arms and cases are falling it’s time to not just show up and support local restaurants and businesses, but to share those experiences with others."
Take the time to write about them in your Yelp, Google, and Facebook reviews. Reach out to friends and have them join you on a trip to visit your third place and introduce them to the new places you discovered during 2020. I’ll be right there with you, and thank you to everyone for your support over the past year. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make my second place your third place.
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