More expensive pints, small clusters of people at tables spaced apart, no sitting or standing for any length of time at the bar, and no live music or dancing - this is likely to be the experience for some months once the pubs reopen, according to those in the industry.
Establishments likely to fare best on the resumption of service are larger pubs and those with outdoor space or beer gardens.
Social distancing will mean fewer punters on the premises, and that could mean price hikes.
The industry will also be pushing the Executive and local authorities to allow them to "enhance" the outdoor experience by relaxing restrictions on the use of adjacent space.
After the Republic announced bars can operate as restaurants from June 29, and all will be allowed to open on July 20, there is pressure on the Stormont Executive, which met on Monday, to reveal a timeline. It's expected to announce further rule relaxations on Thursday.
But according to some publicans, it is logical for Northern Ireland to operate in tandem with the south. While pub owners have received no advice and guidance on re-opening, they have their own thoughts on how it can happen, and what the experience will be like.
Pedro Donald, who owns the Sunflower and the American Bar in Belfast, said the lack of guidelines makes it difficult to plan ahead, other than knowing staff will have to keep their hands clean and sanitised, and that there will be social distancing.
"As far as putting structures up, including screens, we are not going to do that unless we know we need to," said Mr Donald.
He added: "We will not be doing sessions initially as they would need to be spread out and space is going to be a premium."
The hospitality industry has warned that pubs and restaurants may be unable to reopen if the two metre social distancing rule is not reduced.
The two metre rule will not work inside Mr Donald's bars, both of which are small two-floor spaces, although the Sunflower also has a popular large outdoor area.
If that rule remains in place, he said would be able to host about four people.
Mr Donald said he will not be inviting or encouraging crowds to come to his premises, but he is not sure whether there will be a big rush to the pub. A lot of people might see how it is working, while others will want to go right back, he said.
The Belfast bar owner expects to have the same number of staff, with less behind the bar but more on the door and policing the toilets.
Willie Jack, owner of the Harp Bar, the Dark Horse and the Duke Of York, among other establishments, believes it makes sense for bars north and south to open at the same time, rather than potentially see pubs in Londonderry and Bundoran working on a different schedule.
He believes Monday, July 20 is a sensible date as it would be better not to open on a pay day at the end of the month, a weekend, or a holiday like the Twelfth.
"A wet Monday or Tuesday night when there is no pressure," he said.
The publican expects no standing or sitting at the bar, and customers being served at certain points then returning to their table.
He noted that certain countries and the World Health Organisation have endorsed the one-metre rule.
There will be no live music in his venues initially, then possibly single singer/songwriters.
Mr Jack expects capacity to be reduced to between 35 and 50% depending on what rules are put in place by the Executive.
"Prices might have to go up," he said, adding that he does not want to see customers partitioned by screens.
A number of his establishments are in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast, and he wants to work with the City Council to pedestrianise the area in the evening and at weekends.
Managing taxi ranks and portable toilets will be vital if that happens, Mr Jack added. Otherwise, staff are likely to be washing hands every half hour, using sanitiser but not wearing gloves or masks, the publicans said.
On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the two-metre rule and said businesses may have to rely on their ingenuity to operate within the restriction. He said the rule was under review, "but, ultimately, it isn't the rule that's the challenge to the opening of hospitality in a safe way, it's the virus".
And in the Republic, Business Minister Heather Humphreys said yesterday that the two-metre rule may be changed "provided that coronavirus figures go in the right direction and the transmission rate remains low".