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Charlotte bartenders become calendar models to support struggling businesses

The calendar is being promoted as a COVID-safe and socially distanced way to support your local bar this holiday season, while many remain closed.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's no surprise that nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic in Charlotte, small businesses that are dealing with lockdowns, additional cleaning costs, and a skeptical customer base have exhausted every option to stay afloat and keep their doors open. 

Now, 13 locally owned and operated bars around the Plaza Midwood neighborhood can say they’ve tried everything -- even modeling.

The bars have banded together to release a 2021 calendar called the ‘Men of Midwood(ish)’ that will feature bartenders from local watering holes.

Proceeds from the calendar sales will go straight back to the businesses and staff that have struggled to pay bills this year.

RELATED: Charlotte small businesses band together to stay afloat

“It’s been kind of difficult. You just hope and pray Congress and Senate try to push things through for you,” Jason Boomhower, bartender at Petra’s Piano Bar, said. “I’ve been doing trying to do a bunch of odds and ends on the side through Doordash services and stuff like that.”

Fundraising organizer Geneiva McNeale, who had success in 2017 with a mock pin-up calendar featuring regulars from the Thirsty Beaver Saloon in Charlotte, said this campaign has a real identity to it.  

“The calendar captures all the personality and grit that is Plaza Midwood today,” McNeale said. “We tried to feature as many of our favorite bars and bartenders as possible in our 13-month homage.”

The tongue-in-cheek calendar shoot was more than just a fundraiser according to McNeale. 

“With large tracts of land recently purchased by developers and condos and offices moving in every day, we thought it might be worth taking a snapshot of the [Plaza Midwood] as it is, before it changes forever,” she added.

The calendar is being promoted as a COVID-safe and socially distanced way to support your local bar this holiday season, while many remain closed due to statewide restrictions.

RELATED: North Carolina implements nightly curfew due to rising COVID-19 cases

The participating bars include: Elizabeth Billiards, Midwood Country Club, Thirsty Beaver Saloon, Skylark Social Club, Snug Harbor, Petra’s, Hattie’s Tap and Tavern, Thomas Street Tavern, Tommy’s Pub, Abari Game Bar, The Workman’s Friend, The Lafayette, and Smokey Joe’s Café.

Whether the calendars are bought as quirky Christmas gifts or self-proclaimed ‘eye candy’, it’s safe to say these local businesses aren’t afraid to bare it all to make it through tough times.

The calendars are available for order online at Menofmidwoodish.com or can be picked up after Tuesday, Dec. 22 at any of the featured bars that are open, or at retail locations such as Green with Envy, Common Market, and the Culture Shop.