What is a modern drinking room, why are bars needed and what happens when you can't go to a bar together anymore?

 View to Botik´s bar

Since the dawn of civilization, drinks have played an important role in all cultures. With the creation of each new drink, a new space was created to enjoy it: the wine symposium, the coffeehouse, the tea parlor, the whiskey bar. Places where drinks are consumed have been important throughout history. Why is space so important when enjoying a drink? (1)

Physical space

Drinking is primarily a social activity, and communal spending time requires a place designed for this purpose. A drinking place is a special environment: a separate world with certain customs and values, the most important function of which is to support social integration. (2) Drinking together in the same room gives the knowledge that you belong to some larger stable group. Drinking rooms therefore have a social function - it has the ability to define who belongs to the community and who does not. (1)
 View of the studio building of Põhjala factory, where Botik is also located on the first floor

The Botik´s bar is located at the end of the Kopli in the old Põhjala rubber factory. Kopli is a rapidly developing area whose image has changed greatly in recent years and whose population is rapidly diversifying. Thus, more and more people wander into Põhjala, who are interested in the history and future visions of the place and need a nice gathering place to exchange ideas. One of the goals of Botik is to be a new local community bar where you can spend time together and exchange ideas.
Sitting area at Botik

Cultural space

When trying to understand the effects of alcohol on human behavior, social and cultural aspects are as important as physiological and psychological. Ways to drink and ways to think about drinking are learned in the same context as other things in life. This means that drinking is a part of culture, the patterns associated with which are formed as a combination of various factors that regulate norms, attitudes and values ​​in society. (3)

Drinking is strongly associated with celebrations and other important events. In some cultures, a party is an excuse to consume alcohol. In others, where alcohol is more of a neutral part of everyday life, alcohol does play an important role in celebrations, but holidays are not used as a justification for drinking. Drinking and eating are closely related, and drinking is considered as normal and everyday as good food. (2) For example, in Spain the word "bar" does not have a negative meaning as it tends to have in some languages.

For Hispanics, a bar is primarily a meeting place and not necessarily a place associated with alcohol consumption. In small towns, the bar can be the center of social life, and it's quite common to see entire families, including children and the elderly, at the bar on weekend nights. (4)

Inside Botik

In Estonian, the word bar is often associated primarily with a place where alcohol is consumed. However, the dictionary of orthography defines a bar as a small cafe or restaurant selling drinks and snacks. The role of alcohol in this explanation is not emphasized, and next to the drink, the food plays an equally important role. Estonian bar culture is gradually changing. (5) The trend is moving in a direction that quickly moves away from mixed drinks and once again high-quality drinks from fresh ingredients are in the first place. (6) The guest is equally inspired by the broader values ​​of the location. Choices and decisions are made more and more based on common principles and directions that carry forward everyday life (e.g. freedom from waste, recycling, environmental protection, domesticity, etc.).
Outside space

Botik strives for recycling, zero waste and environmental protection at every step, while keeping the originality of the old factory in honor. In addition to a good drink, we also consider delicious local food, a varied program and good company to be important. We try to combine all these components into a pleasant whole, so that a whole family feels good at Botik. We are happy when guests are inspired by the old factory, the Botik garden and Kopli and join the exciting developments wholeheartedly.

Preparation for the cultural program

Regulations and isolation

Laws regulating alcohol consumption are always relevant and cause a strong reaction in consumers, non-consumers and sellers even without a valid emergency situation. However, bans are never very sustainable without understanding their content and background, and banning alcohol consumption will not get you very far. Rather, we should strive towards the development of a reasonable and sustainable society and an integrated drinking culture, both now and in the future. It is surprising how small the relationship is between the amount of alcohol consumed per person and the number of problems caused by alcohol. (3) Alcohol has very different effects on people's behavior across cultures. In some societies (UK, USA, Scandinavia, Australia) alcohol consumption is associated with violent and antisocial behavior, in others (Mediterranean, some South American countries) drinking behavior is mostly calm and harmonious. This is largely related to different cultural beliefs about alcohol, expectations about the effects of alcohol, and social norms about people who have consumed alcohol. Studies have concluded that the effects of alcohol on behavior are primarily defined by social and cultural factors, not by the chemical effects of ethanol. (2)

Night at Botik

In summary, the parts of a sensible drinking culture are as follows:

  1. drinking together is more likely to be associated with rituals and celebrations and does not mean getting drunk
  2. drinking and eating are closely related
  3. both sexes and all age groups are in a situation of drinking together, while not necessarily everyone
  4. drinking is a social activity and is not related to a personal effort to relieve anxiety or socially inconvenient
  5. drinking is usually only one component of the gathering, part of other activities and inappropriate behavior is condemned. (3)

In the current situation, however, social isolation is of primary importance and several rules restricting activities are applied. Understandably, it strongly affects the mood of people as well as the everyday life of drinking (and eating) places. However, people are social animals and social life is a big part of normal everyday life. Spending holidays and weekends in isolation is a big challenge and changes people's normal behavior. Fortunately, Estonian people are smart and certainly many (distance) parties can be held via a screen. Apparently, everyone is impatiently waiting for the situation to stabilize so that they can spend time together outside the home again, hopefully in a cultural way.

Summer in Botik 2019

Used materials:
  1. https://www.litcharts.com/lit/a-history-of-the-world-in-six-glasses/themes/drinking-spaces-and-community 
  2. http://www.sirc.org/publik/drinking3.html 
  3. https://peele.net/lib/sociocul.html 
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar 
  5. https://www.prike.ee/baarmen-selgitab-millised-on-eesti-baarikultuuri-trendid-ja-puudused/# 
  6. https://www.carathotels.de/en/experience/pleasure/bar-culture/
From a factory store to a bar
How is Botik doing and other quarantine activities

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