Fresh New Mix:
Our latest look at mixology trendsetters in the U.S.
The How-To Publication
BAR BUSINE$$ October 2012
M A G A Z I N E
Bar Business Magazine
To improve on-premise beer programs, even big brands know how to focus on the little things, like...
Service With a Smile
oct ober 2012
On Tap OCTOBER 2012
dazed and infused
Here’s the big picture: Using long-lasting LED technology for your on-premise projector applications is a smart move for bar owners. 2
big 19 the picture
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
The latest method of mixology to hit the market today—rapid infusion—allows bartenders to flavor spirits on-the-spot.
An alarming increase in security staff injuries and deaths leads us to examine the on-premise culture for possible answers. www.barbizmag.com
Features 28 MixMasters
Departments 6 Bar rooM drawl 8 Booze news
Bacardi U.S.A steps on the court with the WNBA; Frozen beer foam keeps things cool; Rémy Martin and Robin Thicke smooth things out; 500 kinds of whiskey invade NYC.
12 liquid assets
As the cornerstone of any great bar, stellar beer service requires a passion for the product as well as an understanding of those drinking it.
16 tuning up
TouchTunes offers bar owners the chance to host impromptu karaoke nights at the push of a button.
In Part II of our look at modern mixologists, we find even the chain accounts are keeping things fresh.
32 spirted voting Election season is upon us, so we suggest you pair your patrons’ political chatter with some bipartisan cocktails.
36 Big six
When the wild world of Las Vegas leaves you aching for something a little more...normal, look no futher than Downtown Cocktail Room.
40 Four Corners
A one-off nightlife concept in small-town Toledo takes aim at a nationwide audience.
43 holiday happenings 44 inventory 48 owning up
At The American Retro Bar & Grill, co-owner Gus Hookanson seeks out some foot traffic for his new venue.
32 “Bar Business Magazine” (ISSN 1944-7531 [print], ISSN 2161-5071 [digital]) (USPS# 000-342) is published monthly except combined in January/ February, July/August, and November/December for $45.00 per year by Simmons-Boardman, 345 Hudson Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10014. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2012 Simmons-Boardman. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. No part of the magazine may be reproduced in any fashion without the expressed written consent of Simmons-Boardman. Qualified U.S. bar owners may request a free subscription. Non-qualified U.S. Subscriptions printed or digital version: 1 year US $45.00; Canada $90.00; foreign $189.00; foreign, air mail $289.00. 2 years US 75.00; Canada $120.00; foreign $300.00; foreign, air mail $500.00. BOTH Print and Digital Versions: 1 year US 68.00; Canada $135.00; foreign $284.00; foreign, air mail $384.00. 2 years US $113.00; Canada $180.00; foreign $450.00; foreign, air mail $650.00. Single Copies are $10.00 each. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only. For Subscriptions, address changes, and adjustments, write to: Bar Business Magazine, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010. Instructional information in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all reader to exercise care when engaging in any o the how-to activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Bar Business Magazine, PO Box 10, Omaha, NE 68101-0010.
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Bar Room Drawl By Chris Ytuarte editor-in-Chief
External Factors Should Be Internalized By nature, the bar business exists on an individualistic level as a relatively selfcontained entity. Each operation consists of a p h y s i c a l structure wherein s a l e s transactions take place—a location, a bar, a cash register, and all that inventory of beer, liquor, food, and goods. Customers enter, they are sold intoxicants, and they depart. While there may be millions of bars in the world, each one exists in a kind of vacuum, where your business is your business and the breadth of the commerce being done within seemingly extends no further than the front door. But in reality, we know this is not true. In fact, as owners, you should be inherently aware of just how many corners of society the bar industry truly reaches, and should thereby conduct yourself and your business accordingly. We actually do not run our business in any type of aforementioned vacuum, and in fact it's quite the opposite. Your work affects many others beyond the four well-lit walls of your club. Consider, as the most base of examples, the real estate market. A large portion of bar and club owners rent the commercial space in which their establishment is housed, yet how much thought goes into that relationship in terms of ways business can affect the property and how your policies can impact the bar industry overall? For instance: In New York City, 6
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
there was a now infamous fight between rapper Drake and R&B singer Chris Brown, with each of the stars' massive entourages engaging in a bottlesmashing brawl inside a club called W.i.P. (aka Greenhouse, which also faced allegations of racist door policies a few years back). In addition to multiple lawsuits against the venue seeking millions of dollars in compensation, the incident has also caused a rift between nightlife operators and building owners city (and perhaps nation) wide. According to a recent report by Lois Weiss in The New York Post, property owners leery of such costly scenarios have put bottle service in their sights, claiming this now-common practice as causal to such dangerous fights, assuming much of the damage and personal injury might have been avoided had thousands of dollars worth of alcohol-filled glass bottles not been available as weaponry. Likewise, the nature of bottle service—who can trump whom by buying the biggest and most expensive bottle—is perceived to stoke the flames of ego-driven exchanges on-premise. So New York City building owners are being advised by powerful attorneys in ways to push out bottle service through various lease-termination clauses and other kinds of rental restrictions. “People are putting in leases that these clubs need to serve in plastic cups, but it won’t stop people from throwing the bottle,” attorney Gabriel Levinson of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin told Weiss. “The fallout from these fights over the bottles has just begun.” What we have brewing is a battle between nightlife purveyors and those who house them. And in reality, one can’t survive without the other. So keep in mind—what you do internally, affects others externally.
BAR BUSINE$$ MAGAZINE
October 2012, Vol. 5, No. 8 Bar Business Magazine (ISSN 1944-7531) is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 345 Hudson Street, 12th floor New York, NY 10014 executive offices
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Booze News BACARDI U.S.A.® AND WNBA ANNOUNCE THIRD ANNUAL INSPIRING WOMEN GOLD STANDARD SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
during the summer of 2012. Upon graduation, Essence plans to enter a graduate program in clinical psychology and neuroscience as a stepping stone to her career as a clinical psychologist specializing in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in the African American community. This Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award was created to recognize adult leaders from the African American and Hispanic communities in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), who excel in the classroom, are leaders in the community, and exemplify the values of volunteerism and service. Last year, Ariel Roberts of Chicago, Illinois, and Blanca Martinez of Bronx, New York, were each awarded scholarships as part of the 2011 WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon. The Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award is conducted in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. The seventh annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon was attended by more than 300 leaders from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business, and politics. At the luncheon, the league presented women of Team USA with the 2012 WNBA Inspiration Award, which celebrates individuals who show the world what is possible. www.barbizmag.com
Doug James / Shutterstock.com
or the third consecutive year, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., have awarded two students each with a $15,000 scholarship at the league’s seventh annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon which took place in New York City on Monday, Sept. 10. Ariana Ochoa Camacho of New York City, and Essence Scott of Waterbury, Connecticut, were selected by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, respectively, as recipients of the Inspiring Women Gold Standard Scholarship Award. “BACARDI is proud to collaborate with the WNBA, The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to provide an opportunity for deserving female students to access their dreams of higher education,” said Toby Whitmoyer, Vice President, Brand Managing Director, BACARDI Rum. “Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., congratulates Ariana Ochoa Camacho and Essence Scott on their exceptional academic achievements and community service.” “This year’s Inspiring Women Luncheon is celebrating Champions of Achievement,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “Through our partnership with Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., we honored women who remind us that achievement is not just about trophies and medals; it is, at its core about using one’s gifts to make a positive impact on the world.” Ariana Ochoa Camacho is a Ph.D. student at NYU. She has previously received a BA in Anthropology from Kenyon College and a graduate degree from San Francisco State University. Ariana’s current research focuses on cultural dominance, race, gender and sexuality in the experiences of Latina/o immigrants. She has also spent time in the past focusing on environmental justice issues at a non-profit, and is also active in her community, most notably volunteering with Domestic Workers United, where her work as a translator to support Spanish-speaking women has helped them be able to tell their stories of exploitation and abuse as domestic workers to legislators. Essence Scott is a senior at Virginia State University (VSU) majoring in psychology. She is active in her college community through various organizations including the Psi Chi International Honor Society, VSU Gospel Chorale, Psychology Club and Circle K Kiwanis International, and is also a Provost and TMCF scholar. Essence also served as an intern for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Social and Behavioral Research and Evaluation Branch
Frozen Foam Keeps Beer Cold
RÉMY MARTIN® V.S.O.P AND ROBIN THICKE DESIGN SIGNATURE LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE
e’ve seen plenty of innovative ways to keep beer cold in recent months, with everything from a refrigerator with a built-in blast chiller to a can that cools itself at the push of a button. But these have all involved cooling the beer’s container, leaving the liquid inside to warm up at the same rate as any other beverage. That’s why Japanese beer maker Kirin has gone a different route, and developed a method for cooling the beer directly and, more importantly, keeping it chilled for much longer. The company’s new Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft stays at a low temperature thanks to a specially-developed machine that dispenses a topping of frozen beer foam like soft serve ice cream. To make the topping, regular Ichiban beer is frozen to -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) while air is continuously blown into it. It’s kind of like when a child makes bubbles in their drink, except inside a blast freezer. Once the topping is placed onto regular, unfrozen beer, it acts as an insulating lid and keeps the drink cold for 30 minutes. A side effect of this process (or bonus, depending on how you like your beer) is a creamier taste and texture for the beverage overall. Best of all, it doesn’t dilute the beer’s flavor as it melts, the way ice would. Kirin is currently previewing the Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft in Tokyo, but plans to launch the drink in the rest of the country in May.
émy Martin Cognac recently announced the release of its Robin Thicke limited edition bottle. Things are getting interesting this holiday season, as the Rémy Martin V.S.O.P bottle receives a glowing makeover inspired by Robin Thicke’s sultry voice and soulful character. This one-of-a-kind expression evokes the smoothness that only a brand like Rémy Martin and a musical artist like Robin Thicke can deliver. The new limited edition bottle features Robin Thicke’s signature musical stylings and is appropriately clad in red for the festivities. All Smartphone users will be able to check out exclusive content through the QR technology that is on every gift box. “We are extremely excited to continue our partnership with Robin Thicke as a creative consultant for Rémy Martin V.S.O.P,” said Emma Medina, Rémy Martin Senior Brand Director. “The Robin Thicke limited edition bottle is designed to offer a truly interesting experience while capturing the smoothness of both Robin Thicke and Remy Martin.” The 750ml bottle is available as of October at wine and spirit stores across the United States with a suggested retail price of $40.00. October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Booze News The Flatiron Room Brings Over 500 Varieties of Whiskey to New York City
Tommy Tardie’s LaTesT esTabLishmenT opened iTs doors in sepTember The Flatiron Room, the latest creation from hospitality maven Tommy Tardie, officially opened to the public on September 18th in New York City’s Flatiron District. Designed by Brooklyn-based design and construction firm Hecho Inc., The Flatiron Room is a classic and timeless fine spirits parlor offering over 500 varieties of whiskey in addition to a full bespoke bar, nightly live entertainment, and a carefully chosen menu of light fare. Located on West 26th Street in the heart of Manhattan, The Flatiron Room will serve as a gathering place for whiskey enthusiasts of all levels of knowledge. On the ground floor, a carefully trained staff is on hand to guide guests through the immense spirits collection, providing insight and direction on the unparalleled selection of bourbons, scotches and more. A tasting room upstairs offers informative and engaging classes on whiskey education, led by spirits enthusiasts from around the world. The room will also be available for private events, providing a unique and secluded space for whiskey tasting and experimentation. Additionally, the entire venue can be rented out to accommodate larger private parties and corporate events. “We wanted to create a gathering place for whiskey enthusiasts, a space where they can explore new bottles and reconnect with old favorites,” said Tommy Tardie. “The Flatiron Room is truly a one-of-a-kind establishment and we are thrilled to be able to offer New York City this new, unique
nightlife alternative.” From rich leather banquettes to coffered ceilings, the décor exudes a sense of aristocratic wealth. 100-year-old reclaimed floorboards mingle with vintage Italian wallpaper and black walnut tables to create a sumptuous, refined setting that urges guests to relax and relish in the whiskey. Rows of cabinets just below the ceiling and behind the bar house hundreds of liquor bottles, with ladders in place for staff to retrieve them as needed. The Flatiron Room also offers locked storage for bottles bought on premise, which are labeled with the customer’s name and stored for future use. Outside of an unmatched whiskey selection, The Flatiron Room serves an inventive spin on classic cocktails created by principle bartender Miguel Aranda, previously of Daniel, Bar Masa, and Apotheke. A selection of simple, tasteful food is also available, all made from natural ingredients and served on boards to encourage sharing. Offerings include cheese and charcuterie plates, roasted bone marrow and brandade, Scottish eggs, oysters, boiled peanuts, slow braised short ribs and more. The Flatiron Room features a wide array of live music on the venue’s performance stage, complete with luxurious crushed velvet curtains. The music, which varies in genre and style, will contribute a dynamic, distinctive atmosphere to the fine spirits parlor, making it a truly unique destination for locals and visitors alike.
What Could Go WronG?
An indoor shooting range planned for construction in Powder Springs, Georgia is going to serve alcohol. The Powder Springs City Council has approved an alcohol license for the Governors Gun Club, and developers Kristina and Bert Brown say the 16-range facility will cost $3.5 million and will operate like a country club, with members-only privileges. The Browns told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a valet will take the firearms when members have finished at the range and members will not be allowed to return to the range after having a drink. 10
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
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Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Drafting a Plan At a time when the beer market is booming and the sheer number of offerings available to the on-premise can be staggering to both bar owners and their patrons, sometimes you need to put the focus on the “little things”—like service, promotion, and your own passion for beer. By Chris Ytuarte
ndisputably, beer is the basis of the bar industry. From the earliest Egyptian watering holes, which evolved into the 16th century European taverns that are the blueprint for today’s bars, they all served beer long before spirits and cocktails were ever discovered. Naturally, the market for this barley beverage has continued to grow since those ancient days, and both the number of beers available and the amount of consumption expands daily.
So how is a bar owner expected to maintain a working knowledge of this enormous beer category, not to mention the kind of passion for the product and its service that will allow them to create an overall beer program that keeps patrons coming back? “It’s about enhancing the experience of beer, and whether its draught or bottle, it’s about what the location can best do to optimize that experience,” explains Scott Blazek, Senior Vice President of Sales at HEINEKEN USA. “One of the big initiatives we’ve undertaken in terms of enhancing the beer experience is what we call Passion4Beer, which is a dynamic training education program. It’s all about reigniting the passion for beer, and doing it in a way that bartenders and bar owners can use to enhance the quality of the beer experience for people in their establishment.” Indeed, there is a lot to experience. The overall beer market remains a juggernaut, both on-premise and off. This past August, the annual Consumption Habits survey was released by Gallup, stating that 39% of those polled said they drank beer more often than other alcoholic drinks in the past year, compared to 36% the year before. Similarly, The Beer Institute released new data that shows the value of beer sales in restaurants rose more than 9 percent in 2011, totaling about $23.6 billion in sales. And the National Restaurant Association expects 10,000 new eating and drinking establishments to open this year, bringing the industry total to 970,000 locations. To keep pace with such demand domestically, beer production is ramping up as well. According to the Brewers Association, the U.S. now boasts 2,126 breweries— www.barbizmag.com
an increase of 350 breweries since June 2011. The organization also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. “Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended,” says Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.” Overall, beer sales rose more than 2 percent in 2011, surpassing $98 billion in total sales, highlighting beer’s continued strength within the alcohol beverage sector. According to market research company Nielsen, the increase in sales revenue can be attributed to the high-end beer business. The sale of imports, crafts and above-premium beers sold offpremise was up nearly 3 percent. And therein lies a niche in which bar owners can focus in order to keep their beer program contemporary and competitive. “We feel that the upscale beer segment, even though it’s growing very quickly, is still somewhat underrepresented,” says Blazek. As defined by BusinessDictionary. com, “upscale” means “Having the feel, image, look, and price-tag of something designed to appeal to the well-to-do urban segment of the population. Combine that notion with the growing popularity of such products within a young, diverse group of American drinkers, and the beer market has found a welcoming target.” “We want to be the undisputed thought leaders within upscale—retail, bar owners, off-premise, and on-premise, they’re coming to HUSA when they have questions, thoughts and insights about what’s happening within upscale,” continues Blazek. “In the multi-cultural Millennial demographic, for example, 43% are consuming upscale draught. The younger African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Mexican, Jamaican, and Dominican demographics are drinking this category extensively. So there is a lot of October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Liquid Assets diversity there.” (Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, are loosley defined as those born between the 1980s and the early 1990s.) Within that upscale beer segment, Blazek says, the concept of brand still remains important. The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) is hosting its 75th annual convention October 14-17 in San Diego, where Dolf van den Brink, President and CEO of HEINEKEN USA will be part of a panel of brewers and importers who will discuss issues facing the beer industry and the future of brand beer. “At its core, the brand of beer is defined by an industry made up of hard-working Americans in every corner of the country, who produce, import or help make possible an honored product with a special place in American culture,” says Joe McClain, President of The Beer Institute. “At the BI, our chief objective is to create an environment in which all of our members can grow and prosper. This year, building and strengthening the overall brand of beer will be central to achieving that goal.” At HEINEKEN USA, Blazek agrees. “Collectively, as an industry, we need to focus on beer and brand,” he emphasized. “Because brands matter within beer. When you think about other categories, like wine, they’ve lost branding; they’re more about style types. For us to be successful as a beer industry, especially with a lot of these competitive threats across the industry, we need to put quality front and center. So we need to focus on brands, quality, and really making sure our brands remain relevant, and that we’re keeping beer as part of the conversation, especially amongst these up-and-coming Millennial multicultural drinkers.” To do just that, HEINEKEN USA’s Passion4Beer initiative aims to educate bar owners, servers, and even distributors in ways to both re-connect themselves with beer, and also to carry that notion across to customers. The program provides information on beer ingredients, service suggestions, and maintenance, to name a few. “It’s a combination of things,”
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
says Blazek. “It’s the ingredients—what actually goes into a beer. And it’s the rituals. But we also talk about service. How do you present your glassware? How is the temperature of the glassware? Should it be a little warmer so you get more foam? We really want people to understand how all those little pieces go together. But if you walk away with anything else from the Passion4Beer experience, you walk away with the most important notion being exactly that—passion. We want to reignite people having a passion for beer.” Available both online (www.passion4beer.com) and in the form of on-site instruction, the program hopes to keep people on top of the expansive beer market in order to cultivate better service overall. “One of the biggest challenges we hear about from bar owners is that it’s overwhelming, in terms of the number of
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE: AmONGsT mUlTI-CUlTURAl mIllENNIAls (ThOsE bORN bETwEEN ThE EARlY 1980’s AND 90’s), sOmE 43% ARE ChOOsING TO DRINk fROm ThE UpsCAlE bEER CATEGORY, ACCORDING TO hEINEkEN UsA. options out there today,” says Blazek. “It’s overwhelming for the consumer and the bar owners. When you think about it, if you walk into your favorite liquor store in the off-premise, in the last five years the number of SKU’s has doubled. That can be very hard to manage—‘What do I put on my shelves?’ or ‘What do I put on my tap?’ if you’re on-premise and you own a bar. And one of the things we tell bar owners is that if you have four tap handles, it’s really important you understand what you put on those tap handles. What do you want to offer, in terms of draught—some domestic, some upscale—and what role do your bottles play apart from your draught? Because it’s only going to get more challenging as brands continue to expand and new ones pop up.” Even as HEINEKEN USA helps bar owners navigate the swelling sea of beer offerings, the company is making waves itself by bringing new brands into its own portfolio, as with the recent addition of Strongbow Cider, its first American foray into the burgeoning cider segment. “Cider is about half a share of the entire big beer category, but it’s growing by leaps and bounds,” says Blazek. “Heineken NV is actually the worldwide leader in market share of cider, with 25% across the globe. And bringing Strongbow onboard automatically puts us into the numbertwo position here in the United States. “The bottom line is this: If we want to continue to be the leading upscale beer provider, we need to deepen our portfolio. Why do we need to deepen our portfolio? Because consumers have a lot of different interests.” In a nutshell, that is really all you need to know.
Your Personal Bartender in a Bottle!
www.BestBloodyMarys.com October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Breaking into Song While most late night bar rooms become giant jukebox sing-a-longs once the crowd has had a few, new technology from TouchTunes is taking things to another level by allowing for spontaneous karaoke sessions on-premise, at the touch of a button. By Chris Ytuarte
f you’ve ever hosted a karaoke night on-premise, it’s likely that you booked a local KJ (karaoke jockey) well in advance, promoted the evening beforehand, and then paid that KJ a decent sum to bring in his or her own equipment and run the evening. And while that has probably worked for you in the past, modern technology wants to put more of the control in the hands of you and your staff, making karaoke a less costly endeavor and even allowing you to kick things off any any time you want. Over the last few months, jukebox manufacturer TouchTunes has been slowly rolling out its latest software initiative to operators across the country, known as the
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Karaoke functionality. In essence, bar owners who currently own or wish to invest in a TouchTunes Virtuo jukebox now have the option to have the Karaoke program installed and run their own karaoke events on-premise, on any schedule they wish. “Karaoke has been a requested capability for quite some time from our customer base, for the simple reason that they know that on regular karaoke night their jukebox is not going to be used,” says Marc Felsen, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at TouchTunes. “With our product, you can bring in extra clientele for karaoke while still maintaining the revenue stream from your jukebox.” www.barbizmag.com
Users of TouchTunes Karaoke, explains Felsen, can schedule an event a week or two out, just as they would with a standard KJ. Or, upon request from a patron or a group of customers who simply feel like singing, your staff can kick into karaoke mode on the spot, something TouchTunes sees as a major advantage in the market. “Typically what will happen is a location will schedule a karaoke night with our online event manager, which is a resource for the locations and also a place where they can schedule their nights,” says Felsen. “When they schedule an event at, say, 8 o’clock on Tuesday, that information will then be displayed on the jukebox when someone hits the karaoke button, and they can see when the event is taking place. It will also show up on the TouchTunes Karaoke mobile app for people who have downloaded it to their smart phones.
“this kind of flexibility is not something that is otherwise available with a traditional karaoke system,” felsen points out.
“To then initiate the evening, an owner just has to pick up the remote control and hit a button to turn the jukebox over to karaoke mode. What we’ve found—and the reason why this is actually a good way to do it—is that while 2/3 of our karaoke activity is from these kinds of scheduled events, about 1/3 are actually more ad hoc. We see these short little sessions of 20 or 30 minutes, where maybe it’s the end of the night, or maybe some people came in and wanted to sing karaoke, so the owners turn the jukebox over just for them. And those people do their thing for 20 minutes and then they’re done. It really creates a possibility that doesn’t exist with traditional karaoke, where you need a KJ bringing in their equipment and you can only have karaoke when they’re around and at no other time. Our system allows bar owners to do both—you can schedule events and also have ad hoc sessions. “And while our initial research showed that the ad hoc option would be an interesting feature, it’s great to see that’s the way it’s actually looking in the field now that we have it deployed.” TouchTunes Karaoke is currently active in some 300 establishments across the country, with more slowly rolling out every day via the company’s network of operators. While the system is easy to use and “very intuitive,” says Felsen, the deliberate pace of the deployment is to allow for a learning curve for both bar owners and operators, as well as for TouchTunes. “Our operators are thrilled to have this solution, and they’re asking us to deploy it more quickly,” Felsen explains. “But we’ve been doing so in a fairly controlled way so that we can make sure that all the different parts of www.barbizmag.com
the channel are learning and coming up to speed. We’ve purposely been limiting how quickly we roll it out. They have asked us to open up the spigot more quickly, and we’ll start to do that as time goes on. But we feel like our methodical approach has helped because it’s given us a lot of learning opportunities with our operator channel and with the locations, and it’s given our operators a chance to ease into it. They would jump in with both feet, but this gives them a chance to deploy a few and make sure they understand what has to get done initially.” During this roll-out process, TouchTunes has worked closely with operators to provide guidance on what they think is best, and the general suggestion is to find a location that is already running karaoke once or twice a week. That, along with some other factors, points to the best locations. “But operators have also gone where there is demand,” says Felsen. “We have one location that is running karaoke seven nights a week using our system, and other locations that really want to use it only a couple of times a month for special occasions like parties and holidays. So it’s sort of the whole spectrum, but the sweet spot is definitely a location that either currently runs a karaoke night or used to run a karaoke night and wants to run it again.” Felsen acknowledges that TouchTunes faced some challenges in getting the Karaoke functionality online. Music needed to be licensed (the fully licensed catalogue today consists of some 17,000 songs, including what Felsen says are “over 85% of the top 500 karaoke tracks”); TouchTunes hardware needed to be capable of supporting
multiple applications (hence, the Virtuo); and fine-tuning the technology for running karaoke on a jukebox was a formidable undertaking in order to maintain top-quality sound and performance. “What’s interesting about karaoke is that, in some ways, it’s the opposite of music,” says Felsen. “On the music side, we want to reproduce exactly the sound that we have recorded, and that’s what we want to have come October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Tuning Up out of our system. With karaoke, we want to allow for input into the system—namely from the singer—and have that come out sounding just as good. And that requires a different approach. There are different algorithms and filters so the singer comes out sounding right and doesn’t have noise and feedback and other problems. There is a whole different set of requirements than our core jukebox sound. “And then we had to have outputs from the jukebox to run a feed to a second screen, so that owners could utilize televisions in their locations as lyric screens. We also created the Karaoke mobile app, because we felt having the ability to search the catalogue and get in the queue and notify others that you’re going to sing or that you’re searching for events was an important part of our service.” Initial installation of the Karaoke function does require Virtuo hardware, and TouchTunes will provide users with two wireless microphones set-up specifically to work with the system, along with a host guide with tips on running an event (plus shot glasses that say “Liquid Courage, TouchTunes,” to help embolden your patrons for participation). Currently, the song catalogue is updated on a weekly basis, and bar owners can request specific songs be uploaded as well. But at the end of the day, the freedom
of the functionality and your ability to get a karaoke event going either weeks in advance or spur-of-the-moment is what this new TouchTunes program really offers to the smart bar owner. “That flexibility is something that is not otherwise available in a karaoke system,” says Felsen. “And with the mobile app and people picking songs at the jukebox and changing the song’s key—it’s new and modern. And from what we’ve seen, patrons really respond to that.”
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Bar Business Magazine October 2012
ith Cut Costs w Lamp-free Projectors
Projecting Strength If your venue is frequently running video projectors to show Sunday football games, big fights, and other sporting events, new LED technology can help you cut the costs of operating and maintaining standard bulb-based equipment.
By Chris Ytuarte
t seems, sometimes, as if these little diodes are taking over the world. If you don’t believe me, just check out the latest issue of Sign Builder Illustrated, which covers an industry overrun by LED technology at every turn. In the bar business, the emergence of light emitting diodes on-premise starts in our TVs. We all know the latest flat panel televisions—a staple of most modern bar rooms—have moved toward super-slim models utilizing LED technology. But in a segment where screen size matters, the true revolution for nightlife operators lies with LEDs that offer lamp-free projection opportunities
on-premise, which means lower costs, bigger images, less maintenance, and—did we mention—lower costs? At the forefront of this new projector technology is Casio, (www.Casioprojector.com), which is no longer known simply for its G-Shock brand of watch and killer keyboards. Casio LampFree™ Projectors incorporate a Casio developed and patent-pending hybrid light source that combines laser and LED technology for high brightness and can last up to 20,000 hours. The Casio LampFree Projectors are Earthfriendly, low maintenance units that eliminate the need for a short-life mercury lamp (and frequent disposal of), and are October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
How To: economical to operate. That cost savings to a smart bar owner who wants to go big with their games on-screen is clearly a bright idea. “I’ve been doing audio/visual work in bars and restaurants and hotels for 30-plus years, and I’ve installed over a halfmillion TVs across the nation,” says Tim Boyd, President and CEO of SAVE Electronics in Dallas Texas (www.save-usa. com). “And here’s where the problem lies: Bar owners don’t want to spend money on technology. They want to get in there and just have some TVs and some OK sound and make sure the viewing angles are generally covered. They typically don’t care about operating and repair costs long-term. But they should. And for a bar application, the Casio product fits perfectly, better than anything they might have currently, I guarantee you.” Boyd should know. His company has installed several dozen Casio LampFree Projectors over the past few months, specifically working with a large, multi-venue nightlife company in Texas called Main Event Entertainment (www. mainevent.com), which amongst its other wild on-site events (including Laser Tag, which does not use Casio’s patented hybrid technology, in case you were wondering) hosts one of America’s great bastions of bar life—bowling lanes. And despite Boyd’s testament to the frugality of the modern bar owner, the folks at Main Event went over the top to create a dynamic audio/visual display using Casio’s LampFree Projectors.
CASIO's LampFree™ Projectors can run for up to 20,000 hours. “It all started because they kept having to replace lamps in their previous projectors,” says Boyd. “So we brought in one of the Casio units and they said, ‘Yeah, this looks really good.’ I told them, as they needed to repair their old projectors to start using the Casio LED units instead of just replacing burnt lamps. “Then I told them they should do a video wall at the end of the lanes instead of just doing three screens over 20-something lanes. They could do wall-to-wall projectors and have solid screens all the way across. So they tried that out in their San Antonio location and it was such a huge success that we started remodeling all of their other locations.” That initial San Antonio installation involved 12 screens, ten feet tall by 12 feet wide, stretched continuously across 26 lanes, with 12 individual Casio LampFree Projectors hitting each screen. The final effect, spanning some 144 feet and hovering over the bowling alley, was a seamless wall of video images that customers went wild for. The design was 20
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
replicated by SAVE Electronics for Main Event bowling lanes in Lewisville, Texas (148 feet wide) and again in Plano, Texas, this time using 17 screens and 17 Casio projectors to create a 200-foot video wall. “On a mass scale, when you’re looking at installing more than one unit or multiple units across the board, the power savings of LED and laser tend to be part of the total cost-ofownership equation,” says John Tracy, Eastern Zone Manager at Casio America Inc. “But when it comes down to it, bigger is better in the bar industry, and that’s what drives owners to projectors. If a 150-inch flat panel TV was $3,000, I’m sure they would go for it. But that’s just not the case.” Therein lies the first wave of cost savings to a bar owner who chooses a Casio LampFree Projector over a flat panel: For the size of the image you’re seeking, the difference in price-point between TV's and projectors can be staggering. In fact, beyond a certain size, say 100 inches, flat panels are not yet a truly viable option, as the technology in such a range remains unproven. “Usually the first parameter that a projector can address that many flat panels can’t is just the size of image,” says Tracy. “If you’re looking for a very large image, which most bars are trying to get to attract patrons, you’re looking for something that customers don’t have at home. If it’s a 50-inch flat panel, most people have that at home these days. You have to give them a reason to come out. With projectors, you can get up to 200 inches or 300 inches with your images. For the value, when you look at a screen and a projector combined, and you look at the cost of doing something that’s over 100 inches in a flat panel, that cost becomes prohibitive." And once installed, LED and laser projectors pay for themselves via their lesser maintenance requirements versus traditional projectors. “It offers a lot of cost-efficiency, and it also cuts down the replacement time on the lamps, which is additional monies spent even beyond the actual bulb,” says Boyd. “Bar owners were replacing lamps every three months. In one year, they were buying four lamps for each projector. That right there is almost the cost of a new projector. So while the 20,000 hours total that is estimated by LED manufacturers in terms of lifespan for these projectors is just that—an estimate—I say this to any bar owner who hesitates: If they last a year or a year-and-a-half, it’s still the same cost as buying four or five bulbs in that timeframe,
but now you have a brand new projector again.” While the cost-saving potential of a product like Casio’s LampFree Projector is inarguable, there is still, of course, a need to deliver high-quality images and—most importantly for projectors in general—brightness of picture. The costsavings and quality had to go hand-in-hand. “Years ago, when LED came out, it did lack somewhat in brightness,” says Tracy. “So Casio came up with a hybrid light engine, which is a combination of lasers and LEDs, giving it brightness to compete with the current projectors today. The other thing you’re looking at with this type of technology is a very slow degradation of the light source. If it’s rated at 3,000 lumens, the brightness is degrading over a much longer period of time versus a lamp-based projector where your brightness on a 5,000-lumen projector might start to become a 4,000-lumen projector within a few months, just based upon heavy use in a public environment.” And after all his installtions, Boyd agrees that the quality provided by Casio LampFree Projectors matches up with the cost-saving potential. “The image quality is great,” he says. “The Main Event folks love it. They like it better than the lamp units. Because the problem with the lamp units, when you put them in and after you replace one lamp, you probably only get 70% or 80% of the brightness level again because of the wear-and-tear of it. “I just installed a Casio unit in another bar we work with,
Main Event Entertainment's bowling alleys utilize CASIO LampFree™ Projectors to create massive video walls hundreds of feet wide. Installed by SAVE Electronics, each screen has its own projector, with some locations featuring up to 17 CASIO units per set-up to display varied images. and they only had it a week before they were praising it nonstop. They immediately wanted another one to replace a failing bulb projector they had, and they wanted it installed before the [Texas] Rangers’ baseball game that night. So do I see this technology being big in the bar industry? Absolutely.” Not convinced? Casio Projector is offering a chance for bar owners to test out a LampFree unit on-premise. As a bonus, every owner who signs up will be entered into the Casio LampFree Projector Once-In-A-Lifetime Getaway sweepstakes. The winner and a guest will choose between two great options: a VIP getaway to the G-Shock 30th anniversary party in New York, or three days of sand, surf and fun at the US Open of Surfing in Hunting Beach, California. For a chance at a Casio LampFree Projector, enter the sweepstakes at www.casiolampfree.com. October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
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New Methods of
By John Pomeroy
An industry based on innovation is not likely to rest on its laurels. As such, we look at one of the newest ideas in mixology—rapid infusion.
n 2011, dollar sales of flavored vodka grew 9.9% and volume grew 1O.5%, according to Nielsen scan data culled from that same year. But in all honesty, one need not look further than the corner liquor store to see how popular flavored vodka has become. Seemingly every day a new flavor comes into existence, as companies ping the market in the hopes that consumers will latch onto some new, interesting taste. And more than just simply catering to consumer demand for flavored spirits, as with everything in the liquor world, there’s an element of advertising at work here. The more flavors the big brands display on your back bar, the larger the billboard for their product.
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
No one will argue against the importance of such advertising and/or marketing in the bar business, because giving the customer what they way is the cornerstone of great hospitality. It is only logical that your patrons want the products they see advertised and marketed—what they’re told is good. That being said, it is also the job of a great host and bar owner to introduce new and interesting products and concepts to their customers and to educate them on the products that they serve. Do you think the consumer would be excited to drink that new flavored vodka if they were aware of the artificial ingredients, preservatives, and shelfstabilizers used to make it? Perhaps not.
But, consider this: There’s a better way. How about giving your customer the option to have whatever flavored vodka they want in three minutes without any of the artificial colors or ingredients that one finds in traditional, prepackaged offerings? Enter the iSi Gourmet Whip. (www. isinorthamerica.com/foodservice/products/gourmet-whip-plus/) What does a whipped cream canister have to do with flavored vodka, you might be wondering? Ask David Arnold, former director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. David made a name for himself by repurposing tools that were designed for one kind of usage and applying them to something else. Having experimented with just about every tool imaginable (and some you’d never think of), David came away with a major realization: Pressure could take the place of time in a traditional infusion. By simply placing vodka and the chosen flavoring ingredients into the canister, pressurizing it, shaking it, and allowing it to sit, a flavor exchange takes place: The vodka takes on the flavors and color of the ingredient(s) and, vice versa, the ingredient(s) take on the flavor of the vodka. In just three minutes, you can flavor your vodka with anything you want. Don Lee, of New York City barware purveyor Cocktail Kingdom (www.cocktailkingdom.com), introduced me to this concept nearly two years ago while I was researching bar tools. “Why brand tools that everyone already has in their kits?” Lee asked. “Why not bring them something they have likely never heard of before and a concept that is truly cutting edge, like your brand?” From there, a partnership between Purity Vodka and iSi was born. For the last twenty months I have been experimenting with this process. I’ve demonstrated it to bartenders and
sales reps, and traveled around the globe fielding questions from press, colleagues, distributors, bar owners and even the fine folks at iSi. I have infused everything you can possibly imagine and I can tell you with certainty that when you start out with the finest ingredients available, you will end up with a product so far superior to its pre-packaged counterparts it will leave you wondering why you ever bought a bottle of flavored vodka at all. Fresh herbs and spices, ripe fruits and vegetables, citrus peels, vanilla beans, meats, cheeses, and shellfish—you name it, we’ve infused it. Imagine a Bloody Mary with no tomato juice. Simply add all of the traditional ingredients into the canister, pressurize, shake, let sit, and voila! — you have yourself a Bloodless Mary. How about adding a unique and interesting twist to another classic? Take the Greyhound or Screwdriver, for example. When made properly (with good vodka and fresh juice), few will argue the worth of either one of these drinks. Make either one with a rapid infusion of orange or grapefruit zest and you’ve not only added another layer of complexity to a classic, but you’ve also entertained your guest and amazed them with a completely new and unique process. How often does a vodka and soda with a splash of (insert sweetener here) get called for in your establishment? If it’s anything like the last five places that I worked, it’s handsdown the most commonly called-for cocktail. What do you think would happen if the next time someone called for a vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry, you grabbed an iSi canister full of vodka and halved cranberries, dispensed cranberry-flavored vodka into a highball, topped it with soda, and garnished it with vodka-flavored cranberries? I’ve served this cocktail and the response is always the same: “This is absolutely amazing!”
By nature, rapid infusion tools invite customer curiosity. www.barbizmag.com
October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
How To: RECIPE SUGGESTIONS Are you a vodka purist? Try the Purity Martini on for size: 3 parts Purity Vodka, 1 part water. Stir it until ice cold, strain it into a frozen cocktail glass and serve it (sans garnish) to your favorite vodka-loving guest. Explain to them that the water works with Purity the same way that it does with a single-malt Scotch. Because of the malted barley and malted wheat, Purity Vodka has the highest starch content of any vodka on the market. If that person is anything like the 90% of others who have chosen Purity in blind tastings, you’ll have a satisfied customer who will likely come back for more. The next time you get a customer that orders an Appletini, suggest they try this recipe on for size: Take those same 3 parts Purity Vodka and 1 part water and put them both in the Gourmet Whip with some ripe Granny Smith apple cubes. Close the canister, add the nitrous, shake it, and wait for three minutes before straining out the cubes. Again, stir the Purity infusion until ice cold (and maybe add a barspoon of simple syrup if your guest has a sweet tooth) and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. This time, garnish the rapid-infused Apple Purity Martini with one of the apple cubes that you just strained out of the canister. Sit back and
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
wait until your guest eats the apple and be prepared to accept your ample tip as they rave about the Purity Vodkaflavored apple piece. (There’s a good reason you put more than one cube in the canister!) It is really important to remember that although this process seems like magic, it is not. The same rule goes for any recipe—the finished product is only as good as the quality of the ingredients you put in. If you expect to be able to put in a mediocre blueberry and get delicious blueberryflavored vodka, you will be disappointed. Using the finest ingredients available should always be high on your priority list, and that is why using a high-quality spirit, like the world’s most awarded ultra-premium vodka, in your rapidinfusion recipes should also be a priority. (Plus, who introduced you to this process, anyway?) For more rapidinfusion recipes, check out www.purityvodka.com and click on the “cocktails” tab. You can find bars all around the world serving rapid-infused cocktails and a simple Facebook inquiry on the Purity Vodka fan page will yield a list of results in your area.
John Pomeroy is a bartender, mixologist, and brand ambassador for Purity Vodka. He is a frequent contributor to Bar Business Magazine.
Keep Your Bouncers Safe
By Robert C. Smith Nightclub Security Consultants
Protect those Who Protect You With on-premise incidents of violence leading to bouncer deaths and injuries nationWide, it’s time to start thinking about Ways to keep your staff safe.
Lou Ferrin was a bouncer. He was 40 years old, engaged, had children and was expecting his first grandchild in February. He was stabbed in the neck as he walked out a disruptive guest from the bar he was hired to protect. When I was younger I got kicked out of a bar for arguing over a game of pool. The bouncers and the bartender walked me to the door. Once outside, the bouncers stood there staring at me with threatening, “I-dare-you-to-trysomething” looks. I was angry, mumbling under my breath that I could take them…as I walked away. Many years later, as a retired police officer and as a liability consultant, I’ve seen hundreds of people asked to leave bars and clubs in similar fashion. Most exit without much fuss, while others need some persuading by the bouncers or sometimes the police. But at the end of the night, they leave and come back another time. There have been those rare exceptions, few really, when a drunk guest just wouldn’t leave and would take a
swing at or actually hit the bouncer or other bar employee. This guy got his licks in, but normally ended up getting a beat-down by other employees or even guests who felt obligated to help the employees. But something very scary has happened over the past several years in our industry. More security staff is being killed or injured at the hands of angry guests, overintoxicated patrons, or just folks who don’t understand the consequence of their actions. This has to stop. R.I.P. — Marcel Jackson was a bouncer. He was a father of six and a community volunteer. He had walked out a guest who hit a female in the club earlier in the night. The patron returned later and shot Marcel in the back in “drive-by” fashion. Over the past year I have asked officials from the United States Department of Justice, the F.B.I., the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and every other office I could think of, about the perceived notion (or the factual issue)
October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
How To: of an increased number of bar and club employees being killed by guests. These offices all told me they saw no increase or any such trend. However, when asked how they capture information on this type of violence or this type of homicide, they told me they have no job-specific mechanism for compiling statistics on bouncers or club security. This puzzled me. If your house is broken into while you sleep, or if you’re injured in a car accident, or if you’re robbed at gunpoint, the police file a report. That report is processed and the activity is tallied at every level—city, county, state, and federal. There are stats kept for nearly every type of crime, yet there is nothing to track when a club or bar employee is assaulted or killed. Pretty strange, considering many officials want to blame most nighttime evils on our industry and on the service of alcohol. R.I.P. — Cameron Eubanks was a manager/bouncer. He was 20 years old and was taking over his fathers business operations. Cameron walked out a guest for arguing with another employee. Outside, the guest obtained a handgun and returned to the bar, killing Cameron and two others. The hospitality industry is a billion-dollar industry that supplies jobs to millions. One of those jobs is that of the in-house security guard or bouncer. Often times this profession is considered a necessary evil, and during the planning stages of new bars or clubs, the guards or bouncers are typically the last hires, rarely even considered part of the operation. When I train or provide convention seminars on security, I have a reputation of speaking pretty freely on what I believe. So let’s look at this realistically: The bouncer is hired to keep the employees, the guests, the owner’s property, and the community safe. They are asked to step in between angry females and asked to stop three men who are fighting. They’re asked to walk out drunks and they’re expected to keep the drunks from coming in. For all of this, most bouncers are paid minimum wage and have no benefits. The door host, door man, floor walker, liquid ambassador—whatever name you choose to drape them with—is hired to do what owners, managers, bartenders and wait staff can’t or won’t want to do themselves. They are just like police in your neighborhood—they shut down parties, they end the fun, they tell people to stop bad behavior, they grab people, they make people leave. They put their lives in danger every night. R.I.P. — Jacques Nelson was a bouncer. He was 32 years old and he leaves four children behind. He was trying to break up a fight in his bar’s parking lot when one of the combatants pulled a gun and shot him.
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Why has the violence seemingly increased? Have our guests become more violent? Are there certain types of guests who are more likely to become violent? Are there “tells” or signs that someone is going to be violent? What can the small or large operator do to combat the increased violence? These are some pretty broad questions, but they have to be confronted. If we don’t ask them now and try to find answers, more bouncers are going to die. In my opinion, our guests have become more violent. I think there are several factors that have led to this, and honestly, I believe it’s going to get worse on several fronts. Although there are no perfect answers, what follows are a few short points to consider: 1. OveR-IntOxIcatIOn Of guests. There is nothing wrong with drinking and getting a nice buzz, even becoming intoxicated. However, when the guest is irrational and can’t make sound decisions about themselves or their actions, that’s a problem. This has to stop. 2. nOt takIng cOntROl Of yOuR baR OR club. What I mean is this: If you see bad behavior early, address it early and get the person out of the bar. Waiting and giving the person another chance is what most often causes more trouble. 3. Have tHe RIgHt numbeR Of guaRds On staff. I know Tuesday night is slow, but try to always have two guards instead of a single person. Give them other duties to complete during a night, but have them be there together to watch our for each other. 4. teacH yOuR guaRds and all yOuR staff tHat mOst Of tHe tIme, callIng tHe POlIce fOR assIstance Is a gOOd tHIng. Yes, save those calls for the most serious events, but your staff should know that calling the police when they have that “bad feeling” is a good thing. This can be made easier if managers or owners have prior discussions with local authorities about making such calls for help. R.I.P. — Terie Colecchi was a bouncer. He was 49 years old and leaves behind his 11-year-old son. Terrie was walking two guests out who arrived at closing time. Once outside, they jumped him, and while he was on the ground one of the men kicked him several times in the head.
Will we remember all of these guys—bouncers who were asked to perform a tough part-time job for little pay and no benefits? Their friends and families will remember them, but we need to protect them. Will we change the way we do things in our industry? I don’t know, but I do know that our industry is getting more violent and we have to take notice.
His company has trained over 5,000 hospitality industry employees and worked with over 1,000 bars, clubs, restaurants and other alcohol service venues nationwide. His company is called upon to provide expert guidance for attorneys, insurance companies, law A portion of the proceeds from the enforcement officials and industry trade associations surrounding ® brandedprograms products of flipflop areas of liquor and on-premisesale liability. Smith's training and expertise have been discussed on the floor of the U.S. Congress benefit Soles4Souls, the international and were the basis for California’s law that mandates shoenew charity dedicated to all providing in-house guards be licensed andfootwear trained totoathose true standard. in need. Now retiredThe frompartnership the San Diego Department, Smith and withPolice flipflop and Soles4Souls is his company will have an even louder and far reaching voice on important. With more than 300 million children in the improving the training for guards and the standards for security world without shoes, flipflop’s dedication to the cause working in the hospitality industry as a whole.
flippin' good rum! Made with 100% Caribbean rum, flipflop Rum is a serious rum that doesn’t take itself too seriously. To each, their own, as we say. Like our wines, flipflop rum is expressive, approachable and an outstanding value.
For more information, visit www.flipfloprum.com. © 2012 Underdog Wine & Spirits, Livermore, CA
Robert C. Smith is the President and CEO of Nightclub Security Consultants, Inc. (www.nightclubsecurity.com). He formed his company in 1998 after an incident surrounding the use of force by a security guard at a San Diego restaurant and bar. This incident compelled Smith to create the first training program in the country designed specifically for the in-house guard or bouncer.
is helping put shoes on more than 500,000 feet.
October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
New SpiNS from the Mix Masters
Plug and Play
by elyse glickman
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Whether the venue is a boutique cocktail lounge, fine dining restaurant, casual bistro or chain restaurant, the bar benefits from consumer demand for market-fresh ingredients and added creativity.
he customers are the source of all new cocktails…their tastes and thirst is what you need to satiate,” muses Los Angeles-based Adam George Fournier, who wears many hats as the bar manager of Steingarten LA, bartender at Plan Check Kitchen and Bar, and as a member of Pisco Portón’s nationwide think tank. “There are two ways I’ve found to be successful in rolling out (innovative) cocktails,” says Fournier. “One way, which we do at Plan Check, is to have a well-balanced cocktail menu with actively rotating weekly specials that lets mixologists in the field test everything and bring back what sells. The other way, defining Steingarten’s beverage program, is to have an experimental menu as its base balanced out with a ‘Classical Style’ menu that offers and briefly explains a selection of classic cocktails. That way, customers looking for ‘just a drink’ aren’t turned off by the more ‘culinary’ options and know they’re in the hands of a bartender they can trust.” In other words, just as successful restaurants and bars of all genres have to be all things to all people to a certain extent, there are smarter ways to approach the mixology question so that customers’ needs, demands and tastes can be met while allowing the creative visions of beverage directors and bartenders to shine through.
RestauRant BeveRage PRogRams: seRious Food FoR thought Fournier notes that the clientele of Plan Check Kitchen and Bar recently seized upon a specialty cocktail on the menu utilizing Pisco Portón. Thanks to the way he has positioned it, the addition has led to regulars wanting to try something new yet similar to what they are familiar with. The brand has done the same thing at top L.A. destination restaurant Picca, a Peruvian restaurant where customers have graduated from the pisco sour to the “If You Like Pina Coladas…” cocktail. “This kind of thing helps educate more people behind and in front of the bar about pisco and leads to more experimentation with Pisco Portón,” says Fournier. “With a food menu featuring daily specials, the customers always want options. We show through the cocktails that Pisco Portón is versatile enough to accommodate experimentation.” Steingarten’s cocktail menu currently features “Feel the Rhythm and the Beet,” which represents the way Fournier works closely with the kitchen. Though he acknowledges that this kind of cocktail will have a very specific audience, he notes www.barbizmag.com
that the trust he’s established with the chef resulted in a cocktail with beet and balsamic puree, Delirio Mezcal, Curacao, lime, and sage, and it has found an audience. “The best way to convince customers that the drink is delicious is for the drink to actually be delicious,” sums up Fournier. “If you can explain the flavor, and present a drink that matches what you’ve explained, which they’re now in the mood to taste, you’ve already sold them.” “As far as up-and-coming trends, I think the most exciting thing happening in our industry is that it is not just the speakeasies and cocktail bars that are making great cocktails,” says Gaston Martinez, a multi-brand ambassador from William Grant & Sonts, who is involved in numerous restaurant-centric promotions with an educational bent for the consumer. “The industry as a whole is jumping on the mixology bandwagon, and it couldn’t be a more exciting time for us,” continues Martinez. “I take care of the cocktail creation for all our national accounts at WGS. A few years ago, I started getting requests for fresh ingredients, and we’ve evolved to the point where we are getting requests for barrel-aged cocktails and carbonated cocktails. They are all stepping up their game.” Simon Sorpresi, Director of Food and Beverage at Santa Monica, California’s Casa del Mar hotel, is particularly proud of the fact that there are two concurrent beverage programs in place that stir up interest among locals as well as hotel guests. He reasons that because people in California are already attuned to wine and food pairings, and farmer’s markets are a regular component of the lifestyle, customers come in with more sophisticated tastes as well as a desire to try new things. “What makes our Market Fresh program different is that it’s interactive as well as seasonal,” explains Sorpresi. “Customers arrive to find a chalkboard with our weekly specials as well as a bartender at a free-standing table, which is a conversation starter itself. We found that the customer is interested in and involved in the process—from what in-season things taste good together to why a bartender slaps the mint. They are often interested in making these kinds of cocktails at home and can learn a few things from our bartender on the scene.” The other “direction” Sopresi describes is the Barrel Aged Cocktail program, which reinvents retro classics like the Negroni, Rob Roy, Brooklyn, Redemption and others by aging them in barrels displayed at the hotel’s various bars. “Just like with wine, the barrels we age the mixed cocktails in will impart the flavors from the woods as well as mellow out certain flavors like the sharp Campari found in the Negroni,” Sorpresi October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
continues. “We also have a chalkboard indicating how long the cocktails have been aged, which is another great conversation starter for our bartenders, and we serve these over large ice cubes that melt more slowly and will not dilute the cocktail as quickly.” Stephen Starr’s STEAK 954 in South Florida is getting adventurous with its weekday Never Repeat Cocktail program (engineered by Joshua Summers) that offers the excitement of a different artisanal cocktail everyday. This follows the trend of closing the gap between kitchen and bar, using spices like pink peppercorns and balsamic vinaigrette, rosemary and dill as well as house-made limoncello, Bloody Mary mixes, bitters, poached cherries, pear puree and honey lime syrup. From there, Summers throws in some theatrics, such as smoking guns to smoke cocktails and carbonation guns to carbonate drinks to order.
RestauRant gRouP encounteRs Although restaurant “groups” and chains have been associated with high volumes and pre-fabricated cocktails, beverage directors with mixology street cred have been brought in to overhaul that image. Jeff Isaacson, Managing Partner/Director of Operations for The Gerber Group observes that, among patrons, there hasn’t necessarily been demand for certain types of cocktails as much as variety of spirits. Customization is also key. If a customer doesn’t know what they want even after looking at a Gerber cocktail list, their bartenders will be happy to craft a drink by asking the customer about his or her preferred type of alcohol and flavor preference (i.e. sweet, sour, or savory). Gerber restaurant bars
also try to appeal to all five senses with the customer. “We have an incredible variety of fresh ingredients we display at the bars, so not only is there a visual but also an olfactory experience,” Isaacson says, explaining how bacon, jalapenos, and edible flowers capture customers’ attention and imagination. “Our Beet Blast and Carrot Cilantro cooler were actually easy to sell because of the eye appeal. Customers notice the deep colors and the aroma and want to know what they are. Granted, once you tell them the look on their face changes, but we usually will let our customers taste something before they order.” 30
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“What it all comes down to is that there is a huge overlap in the bar and the food worlds,” says Adam Schulman, Beverage Director for Fatty Crew (which includes Fatty Crab, Fatty ‘Cue, etc.). “It is almost expected of you to have a fully-realized bar program. Rose’s Lime Juice goes right out the window and everything in your bar needs to be fresh and changing based on season, geography, and availability. In that regard, the bar has been literally raised in the mixology world because of what’s happening in the culinary world.” Schulman observes that flavor profiles for the most ordered cocktails are leaning toward savory, spicy and even bitter. On premise, bartenders are encouraged to create their own original recipes with tinctures, infusions, barrel- and bottle-aged cocktails. “Finally this country is catching up to the rest of the world in terms of apertifs, digestifs and other spirits and formats,” says Schulman. “While most American palates had been conditioned to not like the bitter end of the spectrum, it is something that has since been acquired. When people are more open to a wider variety of things, this opens up more creative opportunities for the bartenders. There are endless roots, herbs and new flavors that play with salt and savory.” While Schulman and his peers experiment with everything from Thai fish sauce and soup stock to chiles, they are also borrowing a few supplies from the kitchen: two-inch pans, Vita Prep, Robo Coup, spice grinders, mortars and pestles, immersion circulators for poaching, cryovac machines for quick pickling, nitrous canisters to infuse items and chopsticks with plating ends to stir cocktails.
Chevys Fresh Mex beverage expert Ralph Ortiz has upped the ante with a seasonal produce focus in limited-time drink specials as part of the company’s attempt to shift people’s perceptions about casual chain dining and drinking. At the Burbank, California location, in-season watermelon puree-based margaritas and martinis underscored the emphasis on fresh ingredients integrated into its late summer food menu, down to chunky salsa and made-to-order guacamole. The location’s manager also played up the fact that the Watermelon martini features boutique artisanal vodka brand Hangar One. www.barbizmag.com
Keeping it Real: ORganic SpiRitS While there is a consensus in the bar and restaurant world that classic drinks serve as the foundation for contemporaries, it goes without saying higher quality spirits are better for any cocktail customers willing to pay a little extra. Nobody knows this better than Melkon Khosrovian of Los Angeles’ Greenbar Collective, the company behind TRU Organic Vodka and Gin, IXÁ Organic Tequila, Crusoe Organic Rum, Fruitlab Organic Liqueur and Bar Keep Bitters. Though the first product in their portfolio was handcrafted but not organic, the distillers all went organic in their production at one point or another “Our impetus in going from conventionally distilled liquor to organic had everything to do with making better liquor,” recalls Khosrovian. “When we talked with our farmers and purveyors about why they were going organic in their production, we began to connect the dots and started to look seriously at all aspects of our production, from distillation to bottles, labels and core capsules. However, what it really boils down to, simply, is that organic spirits taste better. Khosrovian adds the executive decision resulted in the business growing five fold, on- and off-premise, even in a weak economy. “What we’re seeing on the account side is that any bar serving cocktails or advertising their organic options at the bar—those drinks sell up to ten times faster than anything else on the menu, and command a per-cocktail premium (i.e. $1 more). The public knows the product costs more and is willing to pay for that extra quality and better flavor.” Isaacson concurs, mentioning that organic wine and spirits will account for about 30% of the selection at Gerber Group’s new Westin NY Grand Central restaurant, which in turn, figures in to the property’s new concept of Bar and Kitchen. “It gives the guest an opportunity to experience more than a token item that might be available at most bars. They will be able to have several choices in most categories. We don’t necessarily look to the organic selection as a way to ‘plump’ up our bottom line, but rather as added value for our customers. We try to source not just organic, but also locally brewed or distilled products.” uSSell AviS Cask 63’s Haasarud believes that well-informed managers and bartenders will beget better-informed customers able to distinguish genuinely organic products from gimmick-y marketing. “I’m a fan of organic spirits when they really are truly organic and green,” she says staunchly. “There is quite a bit of green-washing that happens in the beverage industry, so you really have to read between the lines. It’s really up to the bartender to sell it and talk about it.”
if YOu’Re gOing tO San fRanciScO San Francisco Cocktail Week (September 17-23, 2012) continued its reign as a living laboratory where new flavor profiles, www.barbizmag.com
Chevys Fresh Mex and beverage Consultant ralp ortiz are serving up stellar Fresh-iingredient CoCktails like the waterMelon Margarita. techniques and presentations take shape. While some of the cocktails borne out of wild mixologists’ imaginations are intended to shock or surprise, most recipes coming out this year’s extravaganza could be exactly what bar owners and restaurateurs may be looking for to stir up renewed interest among their customers. Morgan Schick, participating mixologist and co-founder of the Jupiter Olympus Consulting and events company (www. jupiterolympus.com), believes San Francisco remains one of the most fertile U.S. terrains for growing distinctive cocktails that can potentially have great critical mass. “I have seen a lot of people using carbonation in a variety of different ways,” he observes. “Though a device called Twist and Sparkle was recalled, there are a lot of other ways to carbonate liquids with existing bar equipment or a soda charger. Although foam-topped cocktails (such as egg whites in a whipped cream canister) were popular a few years ago, mostly with dessert-y drinks, that is now starting to disappear.” Speaking of desserts, Schick says customers are losing interest in sweet cocktails, and are more open to bitter and herbal flavor profiles. From his vantage point at the bar, Amaro liqueur is gaining in popularity, and customers who cannot decide on what they want trust the bartender to make something delicious, “as long as nothing is too sweet.” Schick’s friend and colleague Russell Davis was also involved in the cocktail week. His contributions included his bold cocktails and flavors at Rio Grande and his inventive take on soda fountain sweet treats at Ice Cream Bar. That prowess was put on display at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, focusing on San Francisco and Boston as cocktail creation centers. “It is no surprise that San Francisco is still an epicenter of the cocktail movement’s evolution,” says Davis. “While there is innovation taking place in New York City and in other markets, it is spirits driven. Here in this part of California, we’ve got a yearround growing season working in our favor, as well as a restaurant industry and culinary culture that encourages experimentation—as long as the flavors are balanced and thought is put into the recipe.” October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Hail to tHe CHief By Deborah Harris
mixologist and nightlife consultant
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
SEASONAL DRINKS: aUtUMN
rom the mountains to the prairies, America is a country of ongoing discussion, democracy and development. Our society plows ahead in the large industrious land upon which we build “The American Dream.” We pursue opportunity and freedom and most importantly celebrate all things that make us who we are. Every four years, the leaves turn crisp and brown to usher in fall, we the people participate in a most fascinating event— The Election. As it rounds the corner this year, take a moment to join the debate. Honor those who have molded our country, give a nod to the political system, and engage your patrons in the conversation. Staying fresh and current is a challenge all bars face over time. Remaining true to your theme is most important, but utilizing event-driven promotions and rejuvenating your coxcktail menu will keep your patrons engaged. Tis the season for politicking. Capitalize on the events at the Capitol. Just as Grey Goose created their Muddled
Rebuttal for the 2008 election, Maker’s Mark is getting into the fray releasing politically inspired ads featuring power couple James Carville and Mary Matalin. Follow in the footsteps of D.C. venues like The Lincoln, Round Robin, Art and Soul, Ritz Carlton, and Blue Pig Tavern this season and make over your menu to celebrate America. Choose a spin that suites your establishment, but whatever you do, Rock the Vote!
Tell The Tale
“Stories grab people,” but not just true stories, lore as well, imparts Jim Hewes of the legendary Round Robin Scotch Bar at the Willard Hotel. Regale your clientele with adages of presidents of yester-year. Honor those who have inspired the enterprise in which we reside. Stories abound. Whether funny, ironic, compelling, or moving, this season, tell the tale. Turn your drink list into a Mini-Wiki. Or like the Round Robin Scotch Bar, go grandiose with a Bible of Beverages in honor of all forty-three American Presidents.
As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made a proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America:
Wild Turkey Thanksgiving Infusion: In a wide-mouthed glass infusion jar, place 1 liter of Wild Turkey 101 and 2 barspoons of cardamom seeds. Close and leave in a dark cool place for 24 hours. Strain out cardamom and add 1.5 cups dried unsweetened cranberries and 3 sticks of cinnamon. Close and leave for another two days, agitating once per day. Strain solids and store in the original Wild Turkey bottle with proper labeling (commercially, store in an unlabeled bottle).
Photo by Darren Edwards.
ElEction sEason comEs around EvEry four yEars, so takE advantagE this fall and crEatE somE caucus cocktails to kEEp customErs thinking political and drinking wEll.
The Kentucky Pilgrim 1 ½ oz Wild Turkey Thanksgiving Infusion 1 oz lemon juice ½ oz Maraschino liqueur ½ oz demerara syrup In a mixing glass, add all ingredients, fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds. Hawthorne strain into a wine glass and garnish with a long lemon twist. (Recipe courtesy of H. Joseph Ehrmann)
George Washington Everyone knows George Washington was the first president of the union, however most are not aware that President Washington was owner of the largest whiskey distillery in early America. His Mt. Vernon distillery produced more than 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799—some 17 times the average Virginia distillery’s output. October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
A president and saloon owner, Abraham Lincoln was proprietor of a tavern in Springfield, Illinois where he sold Applejack brandy at 12 cents a half pint, just a ½ cent cheaper than one night’s lodging. Hundreddollar cocktail anyone?
Springfield 1/2 oz gold tequila 3/4 oz Applejack 3/4 ounce amaretto Pomegranate juice Lime wedge In a rocks glass, combine tequila, Applejack, amaretto and pomegranate juice with ice. Shake and garnish with lime wedge
Keep Current “Our owner likes to get the restaurant involved with what’s happening in the news, and people enjoy being a part of the conversation,” says Erika Gutierez of The Lincoln in Washington, D.C. That’s why this eatery and bar has launched its 2012 Cocktail Poll. “We have a chalkboard in the restaurant to keep track of who is winning, and in the first week we sold fifty of the Poll cocktails,” adds Gutierez. In an effort to predict the election, The Lincoln created two separate but equally inspired cocktails: The Donkey, a blackberry-infused gin and ginger drink; and The Elephant, a rhubarb-infused whiskey concoction. The Lincoln has created equally complex and compelling beverages, winners on their own accord.
President Ford is on record as an avid mixer of gin and tonics, a taste he shared with Queen Elizabeth II, who perhaps favored this drink as a nod to its English roots (the gin and tonic was introduced by the army of the British East India Company in the 19th century). The two celebrated America’s bicentennial together in July of 1976, honoring America’s 200th year of independence from England.
A movie star and a president, Ronald Reagan had a penchant for all things sparkling—especially his wines. President Reagan clearly loved good wine, as he appointed a wine steward through his term in office. It is also told that our 40th president introduced California Sparkling to the White House at his inauguration in 1981.
Bicentennial Gin and Tonic 2 oz Tanqueray Gin 4 oz tonic water Lemon wheel (in honor of the Queen herself) Top with Champagne float
Bubbly Fields 1 oz flipflop silver rum ¾ oz fresh juice from half a small lime 2 bar spoons fresh soaked Harvest Song Cardinal Apricots or fresh apricots Dash of simple syrup
In a highball glass, add ice cubes, lemon wheel, and gin. Add tonic water and stir vigorously, top with a champagne float.
Top with flipflop bubbly moscato served in a flute glass
**Looking to kick up your standard G&T? Infuse your gin with earl grey tea or cucumbers.
(Recipe courtesy of James Moreland)
The Elephant 1.5 oz blackberry-infused gin ¾ oz Earl Grey syrup ¾ oz lime juice Lavender bitters Soda
Photos by Howard J. Lee.
The Donkey 1.5 oz rhubarb-infused whiskey ¾ oz homemade strawberry liquor ¾ oz lime juice Bitters
(Recipes courtesy of The Lincoln) 34
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Honor thy VeePS Second in line and first forgotten, in the early days of the U.S., the first Vice President John Adams described his position as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.” Successor to the highest office in our country, the Vice Presidents of America have a most colorful and interesting history. In recent years we clearly recall a bad shot, a terrible speller, and a running-mate who could see Russia from her door. But did you know among our vice presidents are Nobel Prize winners and Oscar recipients? Looking for a humorous spin? Focus on the foibles.
The Patriot (New Hampshire) 2 oz bourbon 1 oz sweet vermouth Pumpkin puree ½ oz fresh lemon juice Splash of Angostura bitters Combine bourbon, sweet vermouth, pumpkin puree, fresh lemon juice and ice in a shaker. Pour into a martini glass. Add a splash of Angostura bitters and serve.
Dan Quayle: Bloody MarEE
Dick Cheney: Shot Gun Lou
1.5 oz Potato(e) Vodka 3 oz tomato juice Juice from ½ lemon ¾ tbsp fresh horseradish 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce Three dashes Cholula Hot Sauce Celery salt, salt and pepper to taste
1.5 oz brandy 2.5 oz milk 1tsp brown sugar Top with ginger ale In a mixing glass filled with ice add brandy, milk and brown sugar. Shake and pour into Collins glass. Top with ginger ale and stir.
In a mixing glass filled with ice combine vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, hot sauce, celery salt, salt and pepper. Shake well. Pour into highball glass. Garnish with a pimento stuffed olive skewered with a boiled bliss potato wedge and a mini gherkin pickle.
Sarah Palin: Moscow Mule 2 oz Russian Standard Vodka 4-6 oz ginger beer Juice from ½ lime In a copper mug or Collins glass, squeeze lime juice, fill with ice, add vodka, top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge. (Recipes Courtesy of Art and Soul)
Photos by Ronald Flores.
STarT SWIngIng While whipping up presidentially proportionate potions, start swinging. For this year’s election, honor the states that make the call. Art and Soul, a Capitol Hill eatery and bar owned by Top Chef Art Smith, is joining the debate featuring eight “politically charged” Swing State Cocktails. “The swing states are critical to the outcome of the election,” states a representative of Art & Soul. These cocktails enable a bar to have nonpartisan fun. “People are much more aware of mixology programs now than in the past, and many are interested in what we are doing here to create innovative cocktails,” imparts mixologist Ronald Flores. When creating these drinks Ronald, “started by thinking about what each state is known for, something we specifically connect with that state….then focused on balancing the flavors in the cocktail.” www.barbizmag.com
The Colorado Orchard 2 oz Cape Rock Gin 1/2 oz St. Germain Splash lime juice Small bunch of Thai basil Paul Louis Sparkling Wine (topper) Muddle basil with Cape Rock Gin. Add St. Germain and lime. Shake it and pour into a Collins glass. Top off with sparkling wine.
The Cheese Head (Wisconsin) 2 oz Death’s Door Vodka 1/2 oz lemon juice 1/2 oz simple syrup Shiraz floater Cheddar cheese cube garnish Pour vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup into a shaker. Shake and pour into a glass, then add ice. Top with shiraz and garnish with cheddar cheese cube. October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Las Vegas Boston CHICAGo
Normal SophiSticatioN By Chris Ytuarte
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
a few miles away from the frenzy of the las Vegas strip, Downtown CoCktail Room offers a respite to those in search of something subtler than the usual overkill of Sin city nightclubs. in contrast to the rest of this town, things at this lovely locals’ establishment are downright normal.
f you sit down for a conversation with Michael Cornthwaite, owner of Downtown Cocktail room, located just off the Vegas strip at 111 south Las Vegas Boulevard, it probably won’t take long for him to use the word “normal.” He may even use it more than once. In fact, it might be his mantra. of course, one man’s “normal” might be someone else’s “crazy.” It’s all relative. And when it comes to the nightlife industry, “normal” can sometimes be construed as boring. But in the case of Downtown Cocktail room, “normal” is refreshingly different.
Aptly described as an “intimate cocktail room and speakeasy,” the 3,000-square-foot Downtown Cocktail room (D.C.r.) was the brainchild of Cornthwaite, an industry veteran originally from Chicago, whose 17 years in Las Vegas had him pining for something beyond the megaclubs and mega-attitudes of the strip. “I really liked the downtown area, and it seemed like there was a lack of ‘normal’ options in the city of Las Vegas,” says Cornthwaite, utilizing his favorite adjective. “of course there’s lots of hotels and casinos and strip malls and poker bars and things like that, but there wasn’t really much that was ‘normal.’ the urge for normalcy in a land of insanity led Cornthwaite to focus on the neighborhood that evolved into the Freemont east district of Las Vegas, where the city’s longstanding gaming laws prohibiting any two gamblingbased bars from being within 1,500 feet of each other (“there was no ability to bar hop,” laments Cornthwaite) were eliminated by revised zoning laws in the area. He also preferred to revitalize an existing structure to create a new venue, straying further from the typically grandiose Vegas build-out trends. “In Las Vegas everything is all about new construction and knocking things down,” says Cornthwaite. “so when I was building in the peak of 2005 and 2006, no contractors wanted to deal with renovating and upgrading an old 1950s building, and there were a lot of challenges involved. But I wanted to create something that was in an old building that had some history, in an area that had some history. Fortunately for me I had a partner who owned such a building and believed in the same thing. “so the notion was to build a destination for people who have a desire for something ‘normal’ while still being metropolitan and intimate, and really was more about locals than visitors. It was about doing something right and doing it well, and then letting nature take its course. Instead of throwing millions of dollars at the biggest, flashiest possible thing you could find in the middle of the Bellagio or City Center, it was just about doing something that was ‘normal’ and making it really great.” the design of Downtown Cocktail room was inspired by Cornthwaite’s travels, both international and domestic. He cites venues like Milk & Honey (both the new york and London locations) and other intimate bars “where you could get good service and listen to good music and connect with good people,” as the blueprint for his vision of D.C.r. His goals, as with his tastes and preferences, were as refined as they were specific from the very start. “one of my favorite things about building this was the poured-in-place concrete—which we used for the bar itself and for several different surfaces—and is something I first saw in a bar in Argentina in 2004 and wanted to replicate ever since,” says Cornthwaite. “the colors we used, for the mood and the vibe I wanted to create, were sort of a no-brainer. I like deep, dark colors. I like bars that have a lot October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Las Vegas BOSTON CHICAGO
of candles and are fairly dark. I like music levels that are entertaining-appropriate and contribute to the ambience without being overwhelming. The quality of the sound has to be so good that it’s not disturbing to a conversation. Even if the volume level is high, if the quality is good it shouldn’t disrupt your ability to communicate. The sound system is something that I was really tedious about.” Cornthwaite’s sense of decorum carries over to his own design requirements inside D.C.R. and his expectations of customers who come through the door. The venue’s Web site quite explicitly lays out what he wants to see from his clientele, and what they, in turn, can expect from his venue. While he is interested in providing a top-notch experience for patrons (the bulk of which skew local), he wants D.C.R. to remain a place that he himself enjoys being a part of. “People who have known me for a long time, when they first come here, their reaction is usually, ‘This is exactly what I expected from you,’” explains Cornthwaite. “I’ve always felt strongly about building and creating a life for yourself, and part of that is how you spend your professional workday. And if you spend your time in an environment you don’t personally enjoy, around people that you don’t like, then in
Sophisticated lighting design and enlightened cocktail creations are Downtown Cocktail Room staples. my opinion you’re wasting your time doing something that doesn’t make you happy. So I wanted to build something that I personally like and believe in that attracts other people who believe in and enjoy the same general things—being a good person, being a nice person, not having a bad attitude, and enjoying certain things that are maybe a little more sophisticated or a little more expensive than at other places, but well thought out. And I think any business owner, especially in this industry, has the ability to create whatever it is they want to create, and in turn, the ability to carry the clientele they want. And that doesn’t have to be done with a giant bouncer at the door who has a strict dress code. It can be done with the music that you play and the price point that you’re at and the environment that you create. And that’s held true for me here.” Of course, at the end of the day, a venue called Downtown Cocktail Room must have a sincere focus on its namesake libations, or run the risk of false advertising. Again, in Cornthwaite’s definition of “normal,” quality cocktails are the standard. Alas, too often in this city of excess and overabundance, the basics of bartending and mixology can be cast aside. Not so at D.C.R.
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
“If you spend your time in an environment you don’t personally enjoy, around people that you don’t like, then in my opinion you’re wasting your time doing something that doesn’t make you happy.”
“the quality of the cocktails—it sort of goes without saying that if you’re going to do things right, you should do everything right,” Cornthwaite emphasizes. “And that goes for the way you make a classic cocktail or the work you put into original drinks and the ingredients you use. In Las Vegas, it’s pretty difficult to find good, quality people who are passionate about what they do or care enough to spend the extra money or take the extra time to do things correctly and thoughtfully. In other cities, like new york or Portland or seattle, you can find people who bring that kind attention to detail to their work. And that was something that was almost non-existent, it seemed, in Las Vegas. It was always about the tourists.” while he doesn’t shun outsiders altogether, patrons who can prove they are local are never charged a cover at Downtown Cocktail room. Be that as it may, Cornthwaite respects the fact that some tourists take the time to seek out his venue, often to find a little bit of ‘normal’ in this crazy town. “that’s one of the benefits of social media and the Internet and the Information Age in general,” he says. “you have people who come to Vegas from Australia or europe who have done their research, and they’ll stay on the strip but take a $40 cab ride down here just to come to the bar.” sounds pretty normal to me.
October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Bar SceneS from Some ofof america’S Smaller citieS Bar SceneS from Some america’S Smaller citieS
A TOLEDO PHENOMONEN GOES NATIONWIDE In Toledo, Ohio, Bar 145 set the new standard for gastropubs in the area with a winning mix of burgers, bands, and bourbon. Now owner Jeremy Fitzgerald is taking this small town set-up to a national stage.
hen it opened its doors in may 2011, Bar 145 became the first gastropub in toledo, ohio. lending to the definition of a “gastropub,” Bar 145 was relaxed and comfortable like a neighborhood bar, but instead of nachos and chicken wings, the menu featured tempura-battered green beans, sliced pretzel bread with organic gouda sauce and “Stack Your own” burgers featuring niman ranch beef, considered to be some of the finest tasting, all-natural meat in the world. owner-operator Jeremy fitzgerald and business partner George Simon had all the requisite ingredients for a firstrate gastropub, but the 30-year-old fitzgerald had spent more than half his young life in the hospitality business. opening Bar 145 was the culmination of a dream and a 40
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
concept that fitzgerald wanted to grow through franchising. it had to be different and memorable. it was fitzgerald’s passion, after all. and that’s exactly why Bar 145 stands apart from other gastropubs. of course, Bar 145 gets check marks for its great food and fine selection of craft beers, but then it veers off-road from everyone else. Bar 145 specializes in “Burgers, Bands, and Bourbon,” along with myriad other gourmet items on the menu most people try for the very first time in their lives at Bar145.aand for that, it stands alone as a truly unique concept poised for growth with the launching of a franchise program in July 2012. of course, it all starts with the three B’s: Burgers: Bar 145 gets its name from the temperature of a www.barbizmag.com
perfectly cooked medium-rare burger. When they “Stack Your own,” customers choose from 12 artisan cheeses, 21 sauces (19 made from scratch), and 24 toppings ranging from vine-ripe tomatoes to in-house cured bacon, not to mention the niman ranch burger meat. “niman ranch is the only beef program that is certified humane, meaning the product we serve is the highest quality of true beef flavor,” says fitzgerald. Bands: Bar 145 offers live entertainment six nights a week, ranging from acoustic to dueling pianos to ultimate party bands from across the country and even australia. BourBon: Bar 145’s bourbon selection includes more than
Bar 145 is named for the temperature of a perfectly cooked medium-rare burger. 20 varieties, along with creative bourbon cocktails including the Blt (Bulleit, lemon and tonic), Kentucky lemonade (Woodford reserve Bourbon, lemonade, fresh lemon and Bitters) Bar 145 Burger and Bourbon Ball manhattan (Woodford reserve Bourbon, White crème di cacao and frangelico liqueur served up or on the rocks). “Bar 145 definitely fills a void in the restaurant and bar industry,” says fitzgerald, who should know—his father got into the hospitality business in 1996, and today fitzgerald’s family operates four bars and two hotels on Put-in-Bay and Port clinton, two of ohio’s summer fun spots on lake erie. While gastropubs grow in popularity in the U.S. (it’s believed they first began sprouting up in the early 1990s in london), fitzgerald defines Bar 145 as a “hybrid, 21st-century” gastropub because it offers live entertainment. “We are similar because we offer quality food in a pub atmosphere, but we take things to a whole new level by offering entertainment far beyond the norm,” fitzgerald suggests. “most gastropubs i have visited or researched don’t approach nightlife the way we do. our unique blending of demographics and concepts is unparalleled. People might argue that it disqualifies us from being a gastropub, but i
Bar 145 will be opening its second location this fall.
and signature eggs Toast Burger www.barbizmag.com
would argue that it just puts an exclamation point at the end.” Bar 145 will be opening a second location in fall 2012 as part of new entertainment district located near Kent State University
in northeastern ohio, with plans to open at least three additional locations within the next 12 months. afterward, Bar 145 projects opening a new location every six months, a combination of both corporateowned and franchised locations. target markets include Burgers, Ban cleveland and ds, and Bourbon columbus in ohio, and . ann arbor, michigan. fitzgerald is targeting investors who have the resources and restaurant industry experience necessary for multi-unit ownership and growth within a designated territory. “We offer a unique concept that allows our franchise owners to appeal to a large number of people with Bar 145’s gastropub identity,” fitzgerald says. “We offer gourmet food that far exceeds what you get at a typical bar, while still providing an atmosphere that is energetic and entertaining with live music and a modern décor. Bar 145 appeals to an eclectic group of people that allows for strong lunch and dinner sales while still taking advantage of the ‘after-hour’ late crowd.”
Bar 145 offers Loaded Duck Confit Fries and Salmon Flatbreads Utilizing local farmers (a mandate for franchisees, as well) and purchasing fresh product daily allows Bar 145 to offer a wide variety of dishes, all under the direction of executive chef robby Burger and s alad lucas, who gained extensive experience working at some of the nation’s finest restaurants and who will continue to oversee Bar 145’s menu offerings as the concept expands. (it should be mentioned that Bar 145 only has one freezer—reserved for ice cream only—since all of its food products are shipped in fresh.) While Bar 145 might not offer bar standards such as mozzarella sticks, customers can choose from loaded Duck confit fries and artichoke or salmon flatbreads. “What sets our food apart from the rest can be summed up in three words—attention to detail,” fitzgerald said. “We make sure that every dish given to our customers is perfect in every way. We are not in this business to cut corners.” as Bar 145 expands, fitzgerald hopes to spread the gospel on the uninhibited joy that results from indulging in a perfectly cooked, 145-degree, medium-rare burger with a October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Bar SceneS from Some of america’S Smaller citieS
Corners While it’s traditional for most gastropubs to feature craft beers, fitzgerald didn’t hesitate to step outside the box by spotlighting a true american whiskey—bourbon. after all, Kentucky, with 10 distilleries producing 298 different brands, is little more than three hours’ driving time from toledo. “We felt bourbon is a trend on the rise and the market is less saturated,” fitzgerald explains. “although we still offer many craft beers, we felt that concept was being done by so many others. By reaching out to current bourbon drinkers— in addition to the customer looking to try something new— we thought that bourbon would be a drink that could be a big hit if the right approach was taken.” at the age of 30, fitzgerald can be counted among the nation’s many young entrepreneurs for whom age is just a number. “my dream ever since i was young was to create my own concept and franchise it,” fitzgerald said. “my no. 1 goal has always been to create a concept that was new and fresh and provide something that no one else has been able to do. i strongly feel that our concept behind Bar 145 will be something that other people in other cities will embrace.”
warm, pink center and slightly crispy outside that results in an amazing contrast that shouldn’t be messed with. “the belief that most people hold in this country is that a burger needs to be cooked more than other beef products such as steak,” says fitzgerald. “But since we use such highquality beef, more people than you might think have broken the mold and ordered their burger at a perfect 145 degrees.” Bar 145’s menu is complemented by its inviting atmosphere that seems to wrap its arms around customers, including a spacious patio with high-rise tables, a 50-seat oval bar split by an industrial-size garage door, and flatscreen tVs strategically located for easy viewing. and of course, there's the bands. “the entertainment at Bar 145 helps drive people in the doors who otherwise might have gone elsewhere to spend their evening,” fitzgerald says. “our bands come from all over and almost all of them have a ‘following’ that come every time they play Bar 145. it will be no different as we expand. i believe all of our locations will quickly earn the reputation as the place to go to see great bands.”
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Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Nov 1: National Author’s Day. No author deserves more bar room recognition on this day than Papa himself, Ernest Hemingway. This guy could drink almost as well as he could write. Honor him by hosting a bullfight, or just serve his favorite drink, The Papa Doble: Rum, lime, grapefruit, maraschino cherry juice.
Nov 4: Use Your Common Sense Day. Guys walks into a bar, sits down in front of a row of beer tap handles, looks up at the bartender, and asks, “What do you have on tap?” That guy is not observing this holiday.
Nov 9: Domino Day. Pay no mind to the wrinkled appendages above. A fiery game of dominoes is the perfect bar top entertainment for discerning young customers. Have a set on the bar (and included the rules— whipper-snappers today likely aren’t familiar), and it will keep people playing all night.
Nov 11: Origami Day. On this day, honor the great Japanese tradition of decorative paper folding by hosting a beer coaster origami contest. The patron who creates the best coaster design doesn’t pay for the drink that came on it.
Nov 17: National Unfriend Day. To celebrate this muchneeded holiday, offer a free drink to anyone who is willing to Unfriend at least five people on Facebook via their smartphone app while at the bar. We can all make this a better world today.
Nov 18: Mickey Mouse Day. If you read my Editor’s Column last month, first of all—thank you. Secondly, you then know there are drinks being sold everywhere these days that challenge your bar sales, and now you’ve got to deal with Mickey himself serving up suds at the Magic Kingdom. We’re all in trouble.
Nov 21: Tie One On Day. A free beer to anyone who on this day can tell you the origin of the phrase “Tie on one,” in reference to someone getting drunk. We don’t even know…
Nov 22: Humane Society Day. Help out the Humane Society and all the animals by hosting a fundraiser for this organization. See what the folks at Belltown Pub do for the dogs: www.barbizmag.com/ component/content/ article/22-boozenews/2284-thebelltown-pub-helpshard-luck-hounds-attheir-pup-social
Nov 23: Fibonacci Day. By definition, the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two.Got it? Me neither. But on this day, tell your customers that their bar tab is free if they can Fibonacci the total first.
Nov 30: National Meth Awareness Day. Beer, booze, and a Breaking Bad marathon. Cheers to you, Walter White.
October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
Inventory anCnoc Highland Scotch Debuts “Bottled Art”
New Chai Tea Vodka Also a Work of Art
anCnoc (pronounced “a-nock”) Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky revealed the second release of the Limited Edition Series from its collaboration with renowned Scottish Illustrator, Peter Arkle. Arkle developed an exclusive range of packages and label designs for a limited-edition bottling of the whisky. The labels each celebrate a different aspect of anCnoc’s Knockdu Distillery, which opened its doors in the village of Knock in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1894. The new edition is inspired by Arkle’s visit to the distillery warehouse, where the whisky is aged for decades. The anCnoc Limited Edition Series is matured in Spanish oak sherry barrels, as opposed to its traditional American wooden barrels, which makes it soft in color and have amber highlights. The taste is characterized as spicy vanilla and rich coffee, which is followed by fresh lemons, cooked green apples and a hint of coconut. Find out more at www.ancnoc.com.
Yahara Bay Distillers, an award-winning Madison, Wisconsin-based artisan distillery, announced today the release of its new spirit: Seraphine Chai Tea Vodka, featuring a custom-created art label by contemporary Brazilian painter Jonatas Chimen. The product unites the two art forms: artisanal (small batch) distilling and contemporary art. Yahara Bay’s partnership with renowned Brazilian artist Chimen speaks to the company’s deep support of the local community and local arts. Yahara Bay’s on-site gallery showcases the works of some of the Midwest’s emerging artists. The distiller hosts a weekly Public House/Art Gallery event every Thursday evening for tastings and tours. Since its inception in 2007, Yahara Bay has crafted its premium spirits in small batches to ensure quality, using its 90-gallon copper still, and incorporating fresh, local ingredients, such as grains, fruits and herbs. For more information about Yahara Bay, visit www.yaharabay.com.
Courvoisier® Gets the Gold
Duvel and Ommegang Collaboration Crafts New Ale
Beam Inc. and Courvoisier, one of the world’s leading cognac houses, announced the addition of Courvoisier Gold to its portfolio. A first of its kind, Courvoisier Gold is a light and exquisite cognac experience that is crafted with a delicate blend of Moscato wine from the South of France and Courvoisier’s signature cognac, and is yet another example of the revolutionary spirit that defines the cognac house. Courvoisier Gold’s light and accessible flavor profile offers consumers a flirty and sophisticated beverage, perfect for any occasion. The spirit features intense notes of Moscato grapes, pear, peach and florals with a touch of orange blossom. When sipped, it is round in the mouth, with notes of honey harmonizing with the rich and complex aromas of the house’s signature cognac. The 36-proof liquid is packaged in Courvoisier’s iconic Josephine bottle and is best served chilled, on the rocks or mixed in cocktails for a refreshing and approachable taste experience. For more information, visit www.courvoisier.com.
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
Brewery Ommegang and Duvel Moortgat are celebrating the release of a long-anticipated collaboration brew named Duvel Rustica. The new beer is a Belgian-style Golden Ale of 8.5% ABV and, like the iconic Duvel Golden Ale, is brewed with fine pils malts and hopped with noble Styrian Golding hops from Slovenia. The collaboration captures the delicate balance of the classic Duvel Belgian Golden Ale - one of the world’s most exalted beers - and adds a touch of the typical rustic fruitiness enhancing every Ommegang ale. This distinctive touch is created by using Ommegang’s proprietary yeast for primary fermentation. The secondary fermentation yeast is also quite interesting, but remains secret. Duvel Rustica pours with a radiant golden hue accented by a frothy white head. Visit www.ommegang.com.
Fever-Tree Ginger Beer and Sparkling Lemon Arrive in U.S. Fever-Tree, the world’s first premium line of mixers, announces the addition of Naturally Light Ginger Beer and Sparkling Lemon to its internationally recognized portfolio. Imported by Brands of Britain, LLC, based in San Ramon, California, both mixers are now nationally available at select bars, restaurants and retail outlets, as well as online through Amazon. The launch of Fever-Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer and Sparkling Lemon continue the brand’s commitment to building better cocktails by providing a dynamic range of premium quality mixers. At 60 calories per serving, Fever-Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer contains 42 percent fewer calories by sweetening with natural fruit juice, instead of cane sugar. Fever-Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer is the low-calorie alternative for mixing with the same bright, spicy, long-lasting ginger taste that artisan ginger beer cocktails deserve, without sacrificing taste. Visit www.fever-tree.com.
Kamm & Sons Spreads the Love The sun may not have been shining as much as we hoped it might this summer, but that hasn’t stopped us from getting into the great outdoors to spread some Kamm & Sons love. We have been out and about with the BarCycle peddling our wares at a number of Foodies Festivals including Brighton, Bristol, Oxford and Battersea as well as Taste of London, Give and Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival event. Kamm & Sons is not like other spirits. Although it is made in a similar way to gin (and also contains juniper berries), it has a total of 45 natural botanicals, the main ingredients are ginseng, fresh grapefruit peels and manuka honey. It is blended to a lighter 33% abv. (Most spirits are 40% or stronger.) For more information, visit www.kammandsons.com.
Niche Import Co. Introduces New Dry Gin: London 40 Niche is proud to introduce their new gin, London 40 Dry Gin, from Old St. Andrews, one of the largest and oldest traditional producers in the UK. London 40 is four times distilled for the highest standard of purity, and is carefully crafted in small batches with a mix of 10 botanicals, from all corners of the world, to ensure the highest quality and smoothest taste. With 40% alcohol/volume, this unique smooth gin is complex in flavor with a crisp, compelling finish. At the recent Wines and Spirits Wholesales of America (WSWA) Tasting Competition in 2012, London 40 Dry Gin took home a Gold Medal. It is perfect to drink with tonic water or as the base for a great cocktail—perfectly balanced and without a trace of harshness. To learn more about our products and services, please visit www.ourniche.com.
Olmeca Altos Tequila Expands U.S. Distribution Pernod Ricard USA expands distribution of Olmeca Altos, a distinctly superior 100% Blue Agave Tequila of uncompromising authenticity from the stunning Los Altos region of Jalisco, Mexico. Created by Master Distiller Jesus Hernandez, in a unique collaboration with internationally acclaimed bartenders, Henry Besant and Dre Masso, the brand made its U.S. debut in Chicago and Denver. This fall, it will be available in California and Oregon, (September), Massachusetts, Michigan and Indiana (October), as well as Austin, Texas and Seattle, WA in 2013 (February). Authentically produced, Olmeca Altos is distilled at its own Destileria Colonial de Jalisco in the heart of Los Altos in western-central Mexico. Visit www.tequilaolmeca.com.
October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
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Bar Business Magazine October 2012
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October 2012 Bar Business Magazine
In NYC, Finding Foot Traffic Like most parts of the country, even New York City has some “dead zones,” where foot traffic is minimal and opening a bar presents a challenge to build your own customer base. Gus Hookanson, co-proprietor of THe AmeriCAN reTro BAr & GriLL on the far west side of manhattan, has faced that hard fact since day one. How is he handling it? With Tater Tots®, of course. BB: Why did you choose this challenging location? HOOKANSON: We were looking for another venture, having already plateaued uptown with The Lion’s Head, but it still had to be affordable. It couldn’t be something we had to build-out, because we just didn’t have the funds for it. It had to be something that was within our price range and something we could grow with. So for us to go to a highly populated, hi-rent neighborhood just wasn’t an option. We were looking for things on the outskirts with a ton of growth potential, and this place kind of found us as we were looking for spaces. It was almost serendipitous. BB: How soon did you know there would be challenges with customer foot traffic? HOOKANSON: Immediately. It didn’t take long. With a place where there is a ton of foot traffic, it’s easier—but never easy—to just open the door, have people walk by and see that you’re there. But when you’re off the beaten path a little bit, like we are, you have to get people's attention. There's not that built-in market. BB: So what was your plan to get people in the door? HOOKANSON: Because we were working on more of a shoestring budget, we couldn’t go out and hire a big marketing firm and do things that bigger bars can do. So social media was our friend—Twitter, Facebook, etc. BB: Has word-of-mouth play a big role? HOOKANSON: Absolutely. But word-of-mouth takes time. The old adage is an adage for reason (because it’s true)—word-ofmouth is the best advertising. Unfortunately it takes time.
Bar Business Magazine October 2012
BB: What about competition in the area? Is that a factor? HOOKANSON: Well, because we are off that beaten path, there’s not a ton of competition. The closest bar to us is three blocks down, and in Manhattan that is a rarity. BB: So in the end, does your service and what you provide the customer ultimately create the biggest draw? HOOKANSON: Absolutely. We push our Tater Tots. And as silly as that sounds, it’s really made a difference. That’s what has created the whole word-of-mouth thing. Tater Tots are cool! Just like PBR cans were cool ten years ago and had that trendy, hip factor coupled with a little bit of nostalgia, having something like Tater Tots—something that is a niche—has really helped out. BB: As of today, how have your efforts paid off in attracting patrons and creating a consistent crowd? HOOKANSON: We see a lot of repeat customers, which like any business, is one of our biggest goals. And we get a ton of new folks coming in every day. So all the stuff we’re trying has made a difference. It’s been a slow, steady process, but we’ve definitely seen a ton of progress.
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