It’s day -1 here at Comic-Con, but the big gun news is beginning to come out – Ellis/Hitch Batman! Taika Thor 4! – and here on the ground in San Diego the shape of this year’s show is beginning to be seen…and some of it is a shocker.
It seems that the Manchester Hyatt Grand’s lobby bar is undergoing renovations, meaning it is closed. Registration has been moved outside, and most of the lobby is walled off.
The Hyatt’s lobby bar has been the epicenter of con schmoozing and carousing for decades. “I’ll see you at the Hyatt later” is a traditional sign off and in particular Saturday night has become the Walpurgisnacht of con: most duties fulfilled, everyone lets loose for a thunderous hangout that sounds, in the high ceilinged marble lobby, like a thunderous, headache-heralding whooooooosh.
Surprisingly little drinking actually takes place at the bar because there are usually only two or three bartenders, and it takes a long time to get a drink. Some people just bring their own.
Brew 30, the beer bar at the “new” end of the lobby is still open, and word on the street is that pop-up bars will be opened to help with the crowds. The Top of the Hyatt on the 40th floor is also open, but the idea of being stuck in an enclosed area is unpleasant for some.
As pros began to arrive this morning, word began to spread on Twitter and dismay grew.
RIP the Hyatt lobby bar…. it served us well
— jock (@Jock4twenty) July 16, 2019
When Jock says "it served us well" I think he means "It served as something with the exact sonic properties of being stuck down a well"
— Kieron Gillen (@kierongillen) July 16, 2019
Wait what??? Wow. End of an era.
— Charles Soule (@CharlesSoule) July 16, 2019
Oh shit where are we gonna go??
— Magdalene Visaggio (@MagsVisaggs) July 16, 2019
I'm hearing the bar at the Hyatt is closed during SDCC and…guys…do you just not like to make money? You have a big lobby and a bunch of extra space. Stock up those beer carts and MAKE MONEY!
— Jeremy Whitley (@jrome58) July 16, 2019
Heard a rumor the Hyatt lobby bar is under construction this year.
Does this mean comic book folks will just be wandering the streets all listless and forlorn?
There's no Plan B.
— Tess Fowler (@TessFowler) July 16, 2019
End of an era
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) July 16, 2019
Am I dropping bar suggestions into the different comic creator's tweet threads as a way to wrangle them all together in lieu of the Hyatt bar being closed for #SDCC?
Yes I am.
— Ku’rkthuluFM (@TheKirkFM) July 16, 2019
This is not the first time the Hyatt has shut down its main bar. Back in the early aughts or thereabouts, what was then the main bar on the second floor was shut down for TWO YEARS while they constructed the second tower of the Hyatt. At that point DC Comics took it as its solemn duty to set up a temporary bar back behind the Hyatt, a misty, outdoorsy setting that some still remember fondly.
But there’s no denying that a mood of dread and uncertainty has settled over the comics industry. Comics have weathered many storms – Wertham, shrinking newsstand distribution, lenticular covers, Todd McFarlane. Could this be the setback that breaks it? At Comic-Con, the horrible, loud, hard to get a drink Hyatt lobby bar is as traditional as swordfights on the back balcony and camping out for Hall H.
The Beat will update this breaking story as events unfold.