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Personal profiles revolutionize the nightlife hiring process.

The How-To Publication

BAR BUSINE$$ June 2012


Bar Business Magazine

STEP UP to the MIC How To Build an Open Mic Night

JuNe 2012




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On Tap JUNE 2012



whiskey in The jar





a winning combo

iT’s personal

Time To go?

Pairing food and spirits as an on-premise event can be entertaining for patrons and profitable for bar owners who know how to pull it off. 2

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

The best service industry employees have winning personalities; now there’s a staffing service that can deliver that crucial insight.

Maybe the time has come to sell your bar. We have some expert advice on how to prepare and execute your exit strategy.


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On Tap



Features 36 glass class ii

Departments 6 bar room drawl 8 booze news

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic storms the city once again; the 2012 World Beer Cup winners; keg wine keeps longer; plus, the latest in liquor-related legal matters.

12 liquid asseTs

Warm weather and whiskey are not two terms you’d typically associate with each other. But we’ll tell you how to think otherwise on-premise.

17 Tuning up

If you’re looking for ways to kickstart a slow night, hosting an open mic might be right for you.



In Part II of a special threepart series, we look at cocktail culture glass-by-glass. This month, it’s time to rock.

36 brand To bar

A highly succesful liquor brand manager explains how the newest spirits make their way to your back bar.

38 big six

In Chicago, the city’s storied history of speakeasies and bootlegging in the 1920s is being brought back to life at a new bar called Untitled.

40 building beTTer bars

Wallace & Hinz has been building beautiful bars for decades. We take a look at their work and what is involved in the process.

50 invenTory 53 holiday happenings


56 supplier spoTlighT

A company known for its wine flips the switch to start producing rum.

“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 June 2012

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Bar Room Drawl By Chris Ytuarte editor-in-Chief

Remembering Moderation It’s an odd thing to work in this industry sometimes, and to realize that on a daily basis we operate in a world based around a product—alcohol— that can be detrimental to our health if abused or even just misused. You could argue that most any business can make the same claim: the enormously profitable phar maceutical industry deals in controlled substances and addictionforming drugs; the entertainment business is forced to work with Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen; and in politics, massively outsized egos threaten to crush anyone who gets in their way. But what about the bar business? The Center for Alcohol Policy (CAP), an organization whose mission is to “educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation,” argues that “alcohol is different from other consumer products and requires different laws.” We report more fully on this in our Booze News section, but in short, the CAP likes to remind the public that when it comes to alcohol, the American history of abuses and our reactionary responses to it (Prohibition) should be factored into any regulatory decisions. It’s an interesting topic, and one that our industry has always needed to address and straddle in order to survive. Most major spirits companies and beer manufacturers actively promote some kind of responsible drinking program,


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

and emphasize moderation. But what about bar owners? Would such connotations fly directly against a business model based upon selling as much booze as possible? I don’t think so; and most successful operators in this country would agree with me. From both ends of the spectrum—maintaining a healthy clientele as well as healthy employees— the notion of moderation is vital to creating a balance between inspired indulgence and idiotic insolence, for both customers and staff.

"Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit." — W. Somerset Maugham I recall one mixologist discussing his “rules” for imbibing in a professional capacity, suggesting he takes one week “off” and one week “on”. Seems like smart approach to me. But what do I know, I just write about spirits. Even removed from the front lines as the editor of a bar industry publication, we often have spirit tastings in the office, I’m asked to judge cocktail competitions around the country, and I’m offered samples of the latest liquors nearly every day. With all of that, I like to keep in mind the notion of moderation, and that enjoyment of this industry we all work in can be magnified if the senses remain sharp—the highs never too high, the lows never too low. And remember: At least we don’t have to work with Mel Gibson.


June 2012, Vol. 5, No. 5 Bar Business Magazine (ISSN 1944-7531) is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 345 Hudson Street, 12th floor New York, NY 10014 executive offices

President and Publisher Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Associate Publisher Arthur J. Sutley 212-620-7200; fax: 212-633-1863 editorial

Editor-in-Chief Chris Ytuarte 212-620-7223; fax: 212-633-1863 art

Corporate Art Director Wendy Williams production

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers


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Art Sutley, West Coast 212-620-7247; fax: 212-633-1863 Vanessa Di Stefano, E-media 212-620-7263; fax: 212-633-1863 circulation department


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Booze News

Third AnnuAl

MAnhATTAn CoCkTAil ClAssiC shAkes & sTirs new York CiTY The third annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic wrapped on Tuesday, May 15 with a top-secret “Anti-Gala” for over 1,000 of the spirits industry’s movers and shakers—the last hurrah of New York’s most spirited festival of the year, and a tongue-in-cheek antidote to the über-glitzy (and impossibly sold-out) opening night Gala held at the landmark New York Public Library. The festival’s opening Gala was attended by over 3,000 well-heeled attendees, who sipped on nearly 30,000 handcrafted cocktails served up by over 150 of the world’s greatest bartenders. Other (quantifiable) highlights from the evening included 5,000 oysters, 5,000 meatball sliders, 300 pounds of charcuterie, 300 pounds of jumbo shrimp, 6 live jazz bands, 6 tons of ice, 5 barbers, 3 deejays, 3 popsicle carts, and 1 much-photographed taxidermied grizzly bear. This epic (and epically proportioned) event was but the opening bell of the five action-packed days of Classic festivities. With 67 other publicly ticketed events on offer, as well as a multi-day invitation-only trade conference, the


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

2012 Classic garnered over 8,000 attendees from both near and far afield. The aforementioned “Industry Invitational”, headquartered at the stunning Andaz 5th Avenue Hotel, ran parallel to the publicly ticketed events, and on its own proffered over 100 panels, presentations, tastings, and activities over the course of the four-day conference. “We’re never content to just sit on our laurels,” says festival founder and director Lesley Townsend. “The Industry Invitational was a mammoth undertaking this year—as was our NFC-enabled ‘cocktail tracking’ experiment at the Gala. But both were received with such unbridled enthusiasm…how could that not inspire us to keep chasing after bigger and better things in 2013? We have about a million and one ideas up our sleeve at any given moment; the hard part is just choosing which crazy ideas we’re going to try to tackle next.” While the full reveal may not come until later, the Classic has indeed announced its dates for next year’s festival: May 17 – 21, 2013. For more information, please visit the official website at

2012 World Beer Cup® Winners AnnounCed Brewers from around the world received awards from an elite international panel of judges in the 2012 Brewers Association World Beer Cup. The ninth bi-annual competition boasted the strongest field of entrants on record, with 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories. A 17.7 percent increase over 2010, the entries were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards in their respective categories. Judges presented a total of 284 awards. "It's called 'The Olympics of Beer Competition' for good reason," said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, the U.S.-based trade association that has put on the competition every two years since 1996. "The event brings together great brewers from all corners of the globe. Plus, the awards are highly regarded. A brewer who wins a World Beer Cup gold award knows that their winning beer represents the best of that beer style in the world. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup. The Brewers Association and the proud sponsors of our event thank all participating brewers for their involvement." The 2012 judging panel was the largest and most international in the history of the World Beer Cup. Judges from 27 countries conducted blind tasting evaluations of the beers to determine the winners. Drawn from the ranks of professional brewers and brewing industry experts, these 211 judges came mostly from international breweries, with some 67 percent from outside the U.S. In addition to the judging panel, over 250 volunteers helped sort beer entries and steward the competition. The judging criteria are exacting— some categories are not given the full slate of awards if the panel decides that the entries do not merit recognition. The average number of beers entered per category was 41. The category with the most entries was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 150 entries. The second mostentered category was Imperial India Pale Ale, with 93 entries. The GermanStyle Sour Ale category had the fewest number of entries at 11. All entries and awards can be found www.worldbeercup. org/winners.

keg wine: drinkable From the First glass to the last wesley Ashley wines recently released a new packaging innovation for its wines, its delicious varietals now available in kegs, offering outstanding wine that’s every bit as drinkable from the first glass to the last. High quality, fresh wine direct from barrel to keg. "Our keg wine has significant benefits for food and beverage operations. Stale wine is money down the drain,” says Jim Sloate, proprietor of Wesley Ashley Wines. “Keg wine stays fresh for months, which means less waste and stronger profits. No more worrying about covering costs on the first pour; you can offer more attractive per-glass pricing because keg wine doesn’t go bad.” Why did they go to all this trouble? Because it would be a shame to waste one drop of superb wine, right!?. If you’ve enjoyed some incomparable blends, then you know what we mean. Keg wine never goes bad, whereas bottled wine must be consumed within a few hours to avoid oxidation, which makes wine taste watery and vinegary. Wesley Ashley’s keg system eliminates oxidation by using inert nitrogen gas to preserve and protect the wine. Keg wine is eminently practical. The keg can be placed on top of a bar, next to beer taps, or under the bar in the refrigeration system. No corks, no foils, and no bottles means less timeconsuming labor for your wait staff. The kegs are reusable which benefits everyone, especially the environment. The Wesley Ashley Keg System comes in two convenient sizes: a standalone three-gallon system, which is light, versatile, and mobile; and a five-gallon system that connects to your existing tap system using nitrogen or argon and can be placed in line with beer kegs. Wesley Ashley currently offers a chardonnay, zinfandel, and merlot by the keg. Find out more at www.wesleyashley

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


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Special Spring Offer for BarSmarts® This spring, Pernod Ricard USA, the premium spirits and wine supplier in the U.S., and Beverage Alcohol Resource, LLC, are offering BarSmarts WIRED free of charge for the months of May and June only. The industry’s premiere bartender education program will be offered compliments of Pernod Ricard USA, to any bartender or mixologist who wishes to up their game. Since its debut in 2009, BarSmarts WIRED, the 100 % online program, has registered more than 5,000 enthusiasts both within the United States and internationally. Those who complete the program are eligible to participate in all BarSmarts Graduate programming that includes ongoing advanced education, VIP invitations to industry events, networking opportunities, discounts to

various cocktail weeks across the country, and more. BarSmarts WIRED is offered 100% online and covers a wide range of topics including Spirits Knowledge & Tasting, Industry History, Cocktail Knowledge & Technique, Bartending for Career Advancement, and Service & Profit. The content is updated twice per year in order to keep information current and up-to-date. To take advantage of this limited time offer, interested bartenders should go to, click on Register for Wired, then enter the promo code "Spring2012" when registering, in order to bypass the payment screen. If you've been putting off participation in the most soughtafter bartender education program available anywhere, now is the time.

The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association argues that alcohol is different from other consumer products and requires different laws. Brannon Denning, professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law and Center for Alcohol Policy Advisory Council member, takes a global perspective on alcohol regulation, discussing factors that influence alcohol laws such as religion, ethnicity, climate and history. He recounted the history of America’s experience with alcohol, noting how unique it is for a product to be the subject of two constitutional amendments. America’s history of abuses with alcohol leading up to national Prohibition is important to remember, he argued, in order to understand why we have the statebased alcohol regulatory system that we have today. “According to national polling, over three-fourths of people say they understand that alcohol is different and

needs different rules,” Denning said. Steven Schmidt, senior vice president of public policy and communications at the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, provided a national perspective of current alcohol regulatory and safety trends and described broad themes driving deregulatory efforts, including anti-government sentiment, state budget shortfalls, big retailers, alcohol abuse apathy and consumer and media perceptions that alcohol is just like any other product. “The three-tier system and alcohol regulation in the U.S. has worked very well,” Schmidt said, indicating that America does not experience large problems with bootlegging, counterfeit products or a black market, which have proven deadly in other parts of the world that lack an effective regulatory system for alcohol.”

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Bar Business Magazine June 2012

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Liquid Assets

Whiskey and a Warm summer Breeze Whether it’s Irish, Scotch, bourbon or moonshine, whiskey isn’t often associated with warm weather cocktails for summer sipping. But we spoke to a few experts who explain how this intense spirit can indeed be wrangled into some smooth, refreshing summer concoctions that your customers are sure to enjoy this season. by Chris Ytuarte


ost folks think about the warm feeling of a whiskey sliding down their throat while sitting next to a fireplace during the mid-winter months of sub-zero temperatures outside. But when the thermometer reads 95 degrees, and beads of sweat cover both skin and glassware alike, where does whiskey fit on your cocktail menu? The easy answer, for many, has been, “It doesn’t,” and for too long this distinguished, complex spirit has been relegated to the back bar all summer, waiting for snow season to return. But thanks to today’s modern mixologists and whiskey brands that strive to cultivate a creative approach to their product’s usage, you no longer need to whisk away the whiskey once it gets warm outside. “In my opinion, most consumers have moved past fru-fru


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

cocktails and want to enjoy the spirits they love year round,” says Nicholas Pollacchi, Scotch expert and Ambassador for The Balvenie. “A refreshing single malt in a tall glass with lots of ice, club soda, and a squeeze of fresh lime is a perfect summer accompaniment. It’s simple, refreshing and true to the spirit in the glass.” The Balvenie Caribbean Handcraft cocktail shows how dynamic a good quality single malt scotch can truly be. It’s made with The Balvenie 14 Caribbean cask, which is finished in a rum cask and has a sweet, Bananas Foster-style nose to it. Over ripe fruit and sweet caramelized sugar, notes in the whisky are balanced by the fruitiness in the fig jam, nuttiness of the syrup and tartness of the lime. “Traditionally single malt is seen as a winter beverage, mainly as it is drunk neat and the natural strength of the

“We never expected whiskey to become this popular. We were just excited to share a bit of our heritage.”

whisky acts as Scottish central heating,” says Pollacchi. “The Balvenie dedicates true effort getting our flavor into the glass—Scotch is not just another mixable spirit and cocktails are not an alternative to the spirit itself. However, served chilled and with the right ingredients, single malts can be used for much more complex summer beverages.” Surely whiskey will remain associated predominantly with winter, as Pollacchi suggests, but there is no need to pigeon-hole a spirit based on simply tradition. “There is indeed a place for whisky in a summer cocktail,” says Heather Greene, Whisky Expert and Glenfiddich Ambassador. “There are so many myths surrounding the way one is supposed to imbibe a beautiful whisky like Glenfiddich, however, as new whisky fans are coming into the arena, I’ve found that providing them with beautiful cocktails that are appropriate to the season is a welcome addition to the whisky repertoire. A good bartender will understand the complexity of the aroma compounds within a

whisky, and work with those notes to create something unique and appropriate to the spirit.” Nearly all the experts we spoke with agreed that the newfound popularity of whiskey in general is playing a large role in its expansion into warm weather drinks. In particular, the recent growth in female fans of the spirit is pushing brands and bars to incorporate whiskey into their seasonal offerings more than ever. Recognizing this trend, Campari America has even created “Women & Whiskies,” an interactive community managed by women for women who love this alluring spirit. “There’s no doubt that women are getting more interested in bourbon, and I think a lot of it involves females wondering about bourbon and then seeing that whiskey is not just served as shots,” says Fred Noe, seventh generation Beam Master Distiller and son of Booker Noe. “We have a small-batch bourbon called Basil Hayden’s, which is made with twice the amount of rye, aged eight years, and bottled at 80 proof, and it’s a very light, easy-to-drink bourbon. And a lot of ladies have gravitated towards it because you can make a classic cocktail with it and it doesn’t overpower the palate, yet it’s a great, quality bourbon that has the

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


Liquid Assets

Balvenie CariBBean HandCraft

legitimate seasonal option during the warmer months. In east Tennessee, the folks at Ole Smoky Moonshine are even creating some fruit and flavor-infused whiskeys that are perfect for summer cocktails, including Apple Pie™ and Cherries™, with peach and blackberry flavors in the works. “Apple Pie is just a flavor that we grew up with that was the flavor in Tennesseee, or at least east Tennessee,” says Joe Baker of Ole Smoky Moonshine. “That was what everyone drank, and any time you talked about moonshine it was usually peach or apple pie that people first had on their mind. We use natural juices and sugars and

2 bar spoons of fig jam ½ part orgeat Fresh lime juice 2 parts Balvenie Caribbean Cask 1 part soda water Combine jam, orgeat, lime juice in shaker with ice. Add Balvenie and pour into ice-filled rocks glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a slice of fresh fig, lime wheel and a red, edible flower.

right characteristics—a little spicy on the front end with an easy finish. It’s great in cocktails because of its lighter nature, and you can get a good mingling of flavors and a good balance so that, in the end, it’s a nice refreshing cocktail any time of the year.” The Beam company recently released its new Knob Creek Rye, which Noe says is also perfect for warm weather classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned. “The Knob Creek Rye has a spicier characteristic to it,” he says. “But the important thing when you start making cocktails with rye is getting the balance right, where the mixers and the whiskey combine to create a nice balance. “With mixologists now, it’s amazing some of the whiskey drinks they’re making,” continues Roe. “They’re taking the classic cocktails, like your Sazerac and such, and jazzing them up and adding a few different ingredients to put their own spin on them. In the summer, a Manhattan is pretty tough. But take a good Old Fashioned, where you muddle that orange and get the fruit and the sugar and throw some flavored bitters in there—that’s a great summer drink.” From Scotch whiskey to American bourbon all the way to good ol’ moonshine, this spirit it being embraced as a 14

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

Basil Hayden’s® Bluegrass PunCH (By Debbi Peek, Louisville, KY) 4 parts Basil Hayden’s ® Bourbon 8 parts blueberry juice 8 parts passionfruit juice Sparkling wine or club soda Fresh mint leaves Add Basil Hayden’s, blueberry juice, passionfruit juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. Top with club soda or sparkling wine

Liquid Assets

ole smoKy WHite manHattan 1.5 oz. Ole Smoky Original Moonshine 1 oz. Dolin White (sweet) Vermouth 2 dashes of Orange bitters Ice Cocktail Glass: Footed sour. Pour all ingredients into mixing glass. Add ice and stir well. Pour mixture into cocktail glass.

honey and such to make those spirits, and the flavors developed in our area because if you’re not sipping clear from a jar you’re mixing it with something.” Clear, as Baker describes it, refers to the classic original moonshine and Ole Smoky’s White Lightnin’™, both of which are base spirits perfect for creating seasonal drinks. “White Lightnin’ is corn-based, but we distill it upwards of 190 proof or more and it becomes a neutral spirit,” says Baker. “So it’s essentially like a vodka—you can mix it with anything, but we sell it at 100 proof, so it’s a little bit stouter than most vodka, but it mixes easily and is easy to drink.” The White Lightnin’ is so easy to mix, Baker tells us, that he sees folks using it in everything from a mojito to a lemondrop, basically adding some fresh flavors over ice to make a great, refreshing drink.


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

KnoB CreeK® rye & Honey 2 parts Knob Creek® Rye ¼ part Allspice Dram Liquer ½ part Berentzen’s Apfel Korn ¼ part fresh lime juice ½ part fresh orange juice ¼ part honey Combine all ingredients onto a shaker and shake well. Serve over ice in a double oldfashioned glass. Garnish with an orange flag.

As with any spirit, in any season, whiskey cocktails for summer consumption rely entirely on proper balance and execution when being built. Regardless of the base liquor or the temperature outside, no drink can be enjoyed without attention being paid to what goes into it. “The perfect cocktail is all about balance,” says Pollacchi. “Bartenders appreciate this and the clever ones use the right single malt whisky, not to be disguised by other flavors, but to enhance the flavor of the spirit and support that flavor with flashes of contrast and complexity. Bartenders are choosing spirits like Scotch because it already has huge amounts of flavor and characteristics like no other spirits. Then the challenge, like a good chef, becomes what to serve alongside. Single malt whisky is the meat—a clever bartender can create the potatoes and gravy to match.” Fred Noe at Beam readily agrees. “Bourbon can be served in July just as well as it can in January,” he says. “But it’s all in getting the drink made properly with good balance. And with our rye whiskey, bottled at 100 proof, a lot of mixologists like the idea of a strong flavor to work with at the start to then blend with various ingredients yet still have the rye hold up. The sky is the limit when you start working with people like Bobby Gleason and turn them loose with bourbon and rye whiskeys—they’ll mix you a drink in the summer time that’s just as refreshing as any other spirit.”

Tuning Up

Microphone CheCk Creating an open miC event that can boost revenue on By Chris ytuarte a slow night requires teamwork amongst the musicians, management, and bar staff, as well as patience from everyone involved to allow the seeds to grow. By Chris Ytuarte


et’s face it: For most bar owners, Wednesday nights will never be the money-making centerpiece of their business week. Sure, cities like Vegas and New York can cultivate niche nights for any day and create a vibe around them, but those are based on a constant influx of tourists and scenesters with nothing to do but party. Beyond those types of metropolises, the average operator will always rely on the weekend to inebriate the majority of his or her customers. That said, there’s certainly no need to ignore the other five days of the week. The Pitz Stop, a local tavern in Bellerose, New York, would mostly be considered a sports bar, drawing a decent crowd for various New York sporting events being televised any given weeknight. But when owner Dean Pitz was approached to have the bar host an open mic night, he saw an opportunity to increase sales on typically slow Wednesday nights. “Knowing the event would be hosted by a local musician who knows a lot of people both in the neighborhood and amongst the

music community beyond our usual clientele, I figured it was a great chance to build a night here that otherwise didn’t exist,” says Pitz. “And while it took some time, and it’s still being tweaked even today, it has definitely done what I hoped it would.” Now running for just over two years officially, the open mic night on Wednesdays at the Pitz Stop is hosted by James Miller, a lifelong resident of the Bellerose area who has befriended many local musicians here, in surrounding neighborhoods, and in Manhattan as well. A superb bass player himself, Miller has written and recorded several albums on his own (James Miller Band) and with other area acts. But it was the chance to help build a much needed live music scene in one of his favorite local bars that led him to propose the idea to Pitz in the first place. “An open mic night provides entertainment for the owner’s regular customers, but it also creates a new crowd of talented, well-connected people in an otherwise empty bar,” says Miller. “Musicians who attend open mics post pictures, videos or comments online and tell their friends and family, which June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


Tuning Up promotes the bar’s business. Owners are then able to pick and but I notice that when they perform, people become happy and choose talented musicians to perform at their bar on a weekend mesmerized and they start drinking more. So, one or two may for a feature spot, which can make them even more money and not be drinking, but those listening make up for it.” Miller agrees there is a way to work around some open further promote their business to new local crowds.” mic’ers potential fiscal issues. “One Of course, a new open mic night is big mistake I see at some open likely to start slow, like any other n open mic night is likely to mics is making musicians pay to event. It requires word-of-mouth, play or requiring drink dedicated hosts, and cooperation stArt slow like Any other minimums,” he says. “If you just between the event “MC” and the event it requires word of treat people like a dollar bill bar employees. then they won’t tell anyone about “We work with the staff to keep mouth dedicAted hosts And your event, they won’t come back, a clean bar, recycle bottles, and cooperAtion Amongst stAff and they won’t subject their family even re-arrange the layout of the to that type of treatment. I’m not furniture to better suit the customers for the event,” says Miller. “I closely monitor all areas of the bar suggesting giving musicians free drinks, but a careful balance to ensure people are having a good time while obeying the law must be struck with making all musicians feel special so that and the rules of the bar. Sometimes we even have to deal with they are inclined to bring a crowd of people to support their unruly customers who are angry about the music, for one reason performances in the future. Every person willing to attend an or another, and that can prove to be quite challenging; however open mic is important, whether they spend money or not because every attendee has friends, family, co-workers, music usually calms the beast.” In an environment like a sports bar or casual tavern such as the Pitz Stop, regular customers may prefer to hear the sound of the ballgame on TV or some soft tunes from the jukebox. Loud live music, and the occasional lessthan-stellar singing voice an open mic can attract, me be tough to swallow for some patrons. Similarly, musicians who attend may not want to necessarily imbibe, which to some operators would seem to defeat the entire purpose of the event. So how do you handle these matters? “Most of our customers and participants during open mic do drink,” says Lauren Hersh, the Wednesday night bartender on duty for the open mic events at The Pitz Stop. “They may not drink as much as say, the sports fans, but they do try to have a least one or two drinks while they’re down. If they don’t, I always try to encourage them to do so, or at least buy me a shot—that usually works. “One of our ‘players’ only drinks every other week; on the “i’m not suggesting giving musicians free drinks, but a careful off weeks he buys chips or balance must be struck with making musicians feel special so pretzels, or he buys someone at they are inclined to bring a crowd of people to support them.” the bar a drink. We have a few people who won’t touch alcohol,


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Bar Business Magazine June 2012


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bandmates and even fans. It’s much more preferable to let poor musicians attend open mics freely than force them to pay $5 for a Budweiser or an admission fee.” Once you’ve established some of the basic ground rules and set-up for your open mic night (example: “We set up a PA system and full backline to make sure everyone has a chance to perform even if they don’t own any equipment,” says Miller), the most important next step is promotion. (“And attractive, well-dressed bartenders are always important to the success of any event, coupled with entertainment and seemingly cheap drink specials of course,” Miller adds). “I always promote the open mic night, whether I’m behind the bar or not,” says Hersh. “James Miller sets up his own Facebook page for the event, which I forward to all my friends. I have a page dedicated to my bartending nights, which I follow-up on and add specials to every week. Also, I set up another page, a more ‘private event’ where I come up with a theme to encourage people to come down. Last week was “Let’s Celebrate” things like birthdays, graduations, babies, marriages, and everything else under the sun. Next week’s theme may be connected to the NHL hockey playoffs; but the point is I set up this separate event because most people like to feel they are being invited to something special and limited. I also make phone calls, send texts, and post the event to my friends’ Web sites so that they know what is going on.” And of course, once you get an open mic night off the ground, give it some time. Let it germinate. Allow the word to spread around the neighborhood and beyond. And then—be patient. “Most successful open mic’s steadily advertise in every issue of the local music papers,” says Miller. “More bar owners should embrace this and pay for the advertising if they are serious about building the event. The other real trick to maximizing revenue potential with an open mic is to be very patient with building an audience over time and not be too greedy early on. The biggest mistake most places make is to ‘try it out for a month and see what happens,’ and they never really give it a chance to get going or build a crowd.” For your bar staff and your bottom line, it’s worth taking the chance. “I’ve been coming to open mic night since James started it years ago,” says Hersh. “As a customer, I noticed the attendance and drinking rate would vary from week to week. However, this year, there seems to be more of a consistent following. I’ve only been working at The Pitz Stop’s open mic night for two months, but I have noticed an increase in attendance and sales overall. Not to put a jinx on the whole thing, but I’m hoping this continues to thrive!”

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


How To: Food & CoCktails:

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Quite a Pair

When it comes to pairing on-premise, food and wine events remain the industry standard. But crafty mixologists—along with enterprising bar owners—are making a push for pairing cocktails with cuisine to adventurous patrons. By Chris Ytuarte


hite wine with seafood, red wine with meat, right? Booooring. While a nice food and wine pairing event can be pleasing to the palate, it’s slightly less exhilarating than what we are truly capable of these days when it comes to mixing and meshing the culinary flavors of on-premise edibles with the similarly complex and carefully cultivated cocktail recipes created by today’s formidable frontline mixologists. In the past decade, much has been written and discussed about the approach to making great drinks being akin to the finest food preparation, so it only makes sense to combine the two factions into one fine feast. Pairing food with cocktails, while perhaps seeming a challenge, can actually be a simpler proposal for the average bar to undertake; as opposed to having to invest capital in fancy wines you may not carry as well as the accompanying cuisine, with cocktails, you likely have most of the ingredients you’ll need for drinks, and the food can be tailored to accommodate your inventory.

We talked to several industry experts who have recently worked on building successful pairing events featuring food and cocktails, and discovered several keys to pulling of a pairing on-premise. “I’ve been in the business for a long time and I started doing wine dinners 20 years ago, and they’re great way to create a theme and a center point for an event,” says Christian Krogstad, Master Distiller and Founder of House Spirits Distillery ( “But what’s neat about using cocktails is that they are a culinary tradition and creation themselves, just like the food. Whereas with wine dinners, you start by deciding what wines you’re going to feature and then design the foods around them, with cocktails you can go either way. Because the cocktail is going to be a culinary creation, so you can design a cocktail to go with food rather than always having to design the food to go with the cocktail.” Typically with wine pairings, a venue will select a varietal or brand of wine to feature, and then have the

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


How To:

Country-style fried chicken and classic gin martinis make for a surprisingly perfect pairing of food and cocktails on-premise.

food pairings built around the wine. But as Krogstad points out, cocktail pairings provide more freedom in the process. “There’s a lot of things to consider with pairings,” he says. “It’s not just the flavors but also the textures and sweetness and so forth. It’s a little more complex. In some ways, wine dinners are simpler because you choose the wine to work with and the chef has to work with that, whereas with cocktails you can go in many more directions. You have to consider the acidity, the sweetness, the structure; and then the flavor is almost secondary to all that. And you have to keep in mind both the base spirit and the mixers and secondary ingredients as well.” Jacques Bezuidenhout, Tequila Partida’s Brand Ambassador (, was awarded Best American Brand Ambassador at last year's Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards Ceremony. He agrees that choosing the spirit for a food pairing involves taking several factors into consideration. “The style of the spirit is very important,” says Bezuidenhout. “If it has any oak aging, then it will pair well with specific foods. If it is an un-aged spirit, then it will go in another direction. From there you can break down the nuances of the spirit to see what food it will pair best with. “Tequila as a spirit has a robust balance of flavors, acidity and spice that can stand up to and compliment many foods,” he says. Jacques especially enjoys chilled Partida Blanco with sushi. Chefs often cook with Partida, which he also appreciates. “Due to the alcohol content, a little Partida goes a long way.” Ryan Magarian, Co-founder of Aviation Gin (www., is partial of course to using his juniperbased spirit to create some truly unique cocktail and food


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

pairings. “Gin is so vast and every gin is so very different,” he says. “The first thing is that gin is based on the flavor of juniper, so any food that works well with that, works. But I think it works best with something like pork or chicken and some richer fishes, and it works very well with complex light sauces and greens, as opposed to something like a whiskey doing better with gamey food and meats.” Krogstad worked recently on a gin-specific cockatil and food pairing that indeed placed the spirit up against the savory flavors of some of America’s finest southern cooking. “We did it both ways: We used some food that was chosen to pair with the spirits, and some cocktails that were chosen to pair with the food that was highlighted,” he says. “The dinner centered around a rural Missouri fried chicken feed, and we had a great chef who grew up there and made chicken and biscuits and fried kale, and then included some loftier culinary additions after that. But he’s really grounded in the food he grew up with. And when we asked what we should do for wine, the chef said he grew up drinking martinis with fried chicken. And it makes a lot of sense, pairing gin martinis with fried chicken. The chicken is sort of oily and mouth-coating, and the heat from the cocktail helps quench the palate while the spiciness of the gin’s botanicals really comes through and can hold its own against the flavors of a classic fried chicken dinner.” All three experts offer some advice on getting started with a cocktail and food pairing, and also on executing the event on-premise: “For a smaller level bar owner, the best thing to do is take advantage of the event to drive interest in the concept itself,” says Margarian. “And I think the best way to do that is to bring in a chef from the outside who is a notable,


confirmed talent. It doesn’t have to be a James Beard award-winning chef, but somebody you can drive some media interest behind. And if you already have a craft bartender on-site who has the training and the ability to balance cocktails and work with the chef on pairings, I think you’re good to go. Otherwise, try to bring in someone skilled enough to keep up with the chef.” “I think the best way to promote these events is the sense of discovery or adventure,” says Bezuidenhout. “We all have done wine dinners but how many people have tried spirit dinners? That sense of adventure is exciting and alluring.” “If you don’t have a kitchen at all or have a tiny kitchen, we’ve done several catered events,” says Krogstad. “And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a sitdown style event, as long as some thought is given to how the cocktails go with the food. If you’re a burger and beer bar, there’s still a lot you can do with that, especially if you’re doing something that’s off the menu and special, something you don’t normally have—like a lamb burger or something—where you’re introducing extra value. It’s not just new cocktails, it’s also something that’s fun and exciting from the kitchen as well.”

* *

When it comes to pairing on-premise, wine events remain the industry standard. But in this business, who really wants to adhere to the standard?


“Just like anything else, I think having a theme is critical so people understand what they’re getting into,” says Margarian. “It could be a tiki dinner, and you could build the food and cocktails around that. Or the theme could be gin. But I always recommend having a theme, especially when you’re dealing with cocktail and food pairings, to create an identity for the dinner. Otherwise people can be a little intimidated by it. The more information you give them, the more success you’re going to have.” “When you take something that is made with care, you can pair it with quality foods,” says Bezuidenhout. “In today's farm-to-table culture, people are looking at quality ingredients, so pairing your meal with a quality spirit on the same level is the best path to take.” “If you’re going to do cocktails to pair with food, you want to have the consistency that you would have from a bottle of wine,” says Margarian. “So be sure to carefully batch all of your mixes so that every single drink comes out just right.”

* *

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


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how to:

n Strengthe Your Staffing Process

Personalize Your Personnel In today’s age of Facebook profiles and LinkedIn connections, the staffing process is becoming more personal than a just a static resume, and one company is taking that cue to bring bar owners online access By Chris Ytuarte to quality candidates like never before.


ne of my favorite lines from the American television version of The Office occurs when Ryan the temp tells his boss, the lovable dolt Michael Scott, that a workplace betrayal was strictly business, and that “It wasn’t personal.” To that, Michael Scott responds: “Business is always personal. It's the most personal thing in the world.”

While this quip is meant more to convey Michael Scott’s emotional devotion to his office and its crew of crazy co-workers, it happens to also translate to today’s

business environment, especially when it comes to the service industry. Hiring staff for bars and clubs has always been predicated on individual personalities just as much as skill and experience—after all, 99% of a service employee’s daily routine involves personal interaction with your customers (a.k.a. the people who pay your bills). And with the advent of social media and the ever-expanding comfort level with which people release personal information about themselves to the world via the Internet, the job interview and staffing in general are morphing into something all

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


how to: "The biggest challenge in staffing is finding quality people. Talented staff is going to be well taken care of where they already are." together different from what we knew just five years ago. Are you ready to step into this new realm? Hiring on the Web has been a common practice for bar owners for more than a decade, with sites like,, and more recently, acting as online classifieds that focused on a wide spectrum of potential employees. But the service industry was, let’s say, underserved, when it came to finding quality employees specific to this business. “The one thing I would say was always lacking was having a bigger pool of quality candidates to choose from,” says Arturo Gomez, President and Partner at Rockit Ranch Productions in Chicago, Illinois. “But that’s just how things were. So over the last four years we started engaging the social media component of our company, and that really picked things up. But still, you’re just casting out a broad net and hoping to catch some big fish.” Gomez and Rockit Ranch Productions own and operate several venues in Chicago, including The Underground, Sunda, Rockit Bar & Grill, and Rockit Burger Bar. Over the last four months, the company has been staffing all of its bars through a new online platform called, a new Web site based in Chicago that allows service industry job seekers in specific cities to post personal profiles containing photos (optional), work experience, and a full resume, amongst other information. Owners and managers in that same city have unlimited access to these profiles, which are fully searchable by job type (bartender, hostess, server, etc.). has launched officially in Chicago and New York, and the company is in the midst of initial testing in Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul and is rapidly adding additional cities. Currently there are over 15,000 using the site in just its first few months online. “We’ve been using Shiftgig for probably about four months, across all of our venues,” says Gomez. “It contains individuals who have willingly posted information because they are open-minded to being solicited for jobs, and they’ve provided past work experience, photos—a lot of information you would typically be looking for and asking for, all collected in one source.” is, essentially, the first employment site driven entirely by and for the service industry, and bar and club operators are already reaping the benefits. “For venue owners, this is a chance for them to get access to lots of qualified people and those who are looking for a job, or even those who have a job but are looking for a second shift,” says Eddie Lou, CEO and co-founder of “This is a way to find all of that in a more uniform and


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

unified format. We’re emphasizing personality, presentation, experience, and references.” Therein lies the inherent difference between and other staffing sites: incorporating the social component of the service industry by embracing the social media platform of personal profiles as a key component to the employment process. In the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Bar Business, wherein contributing writer Deborah Harris wrote about staffing practices, she made this suggestion: “Before booking the in-person interview, make a point to speak with each candidate over the phone. This interaction will provide much information.” Similarly, a candidate’s profile, filled with various bits of both professional and personal information, provides ample basis for taking the next step (or not) with a potential employee. “The profiles give you a deep understanding of their connections,” says Gomez. “A lot of times what you’re looking for when hiring in this industry is not only people with great experience and ability, but people who have relationships on a broader level that can potentially drive business.” The nature of the profiles is a lure to young service industry job seekers, as the current generation of industry employees is undoubtedly more familiar with the world of Facebook than with formal job interviews, a notion the founders fully embraced. “That is a hypothesis that we had,” says Jeff Pieta, President and co-founder of “Right now all of has the largest number of food/ entertainment industry job candidates in a given area, conveniently pulled together in one place. The candidate profiles are designed to pull exactly the information bar owners need to make the best hire. It is truly the industry staffing tool of the future. “This is certainly the new wave of the hiring process,” says Lutz. “Many employers these days are paying attention to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, and I think Shiftgig added an amazing aspect to the hiring process by addressing that directly.” The time has come for the bar business to understand that, being a social industry, social profiles are the future of staffing, and is ahead of that curve. “I think there are many challenges for a small business owner when it comes to staffing, two of which are access to qualified candidates and employee retention,” says Lou. “Obviously there are other challenges—attracting customers, managing costs, generating revenue, etc. But staffing is such a core necessity to address before even those other three. So getting good people and reducing turnover is paramount— and difficult—but we can help on both fronts.”

"We wanted to create something for younger people early in their work experience, because they aren't on LinkedIn but there are jobs out there."

our content is user-generated, so our candidates choose to design their profiles and upload whatever photos they want, create backgrounds, etc. They customize the information about them. But by nature, the demographic we’re dealing with grew up with MySpace and Facebook, and they’re the ones that really made Facebook what it is today. They’re used to social profiles and having multiple social profiles online. So when it comes to their job search, I think it’s natural that they create a great profile versus a standard resume.” Patrick Lutz, the front-of-house manager for newly opened Chicago supper club/lounge Untitled 111, has been in the nightlife business for over 15 years, the latter third spent managing venues and hiring staff. While he cites Craigslist as the industry standard for a good portion of that time, he admits there were always some shortcomings to the online employment search on that site and elsewhere.

“Craigslist can be a great tool, but it’s not specified and as detailed as something like Shiftgig,” says Lutz. “With Craigslist, I would get too many unqualified applicants because the site is so well known, but there was never much focus on hiring because of all the other things that Craigslist is utilized for. Whereas, with Shiftgig, it’s really focused on all the intricacies of hiring. You’re supplied with a bio and an easy link to a resume with a work history that’s clearly laid out. And it’s also a great tool because if I’m looking for a specific FOH position, I can type in bartender or server, etc.” When we spoke to Lutz, he was in the midst of staffing for Untitled 111, which was set to open just a few weeks later. At that point, he estimates, some 50 to 60% of his new staff was sourced via “The profiles are a big help,” he says, “because it’s all broken down within a specialized search engine as a tool where I can look for certain departments or under all the applicants in general. And the direct links within the profiles let me check out a resume instantly, as well as their work history, along with a great bio. So it preps me for my actual interview.”

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


new online app takes the Guesswork out of hiring


t’s a process every restaurant owner or manager dreads— the tedious routine of hiring new staff. How many hours are spent each year sorting through resumes and sitting through interviews? And at the end of the day, hiring still feels like a roll of the dice. You’re never quite sure if that enthusiastic new server or bartender will stick around for years – or be gone in a week.

StatS are Grim According to hiring expert Ben Baldwin, the statistics are grim. “45% of new hires leave in the first 6 months and 15% of new hires are fired within the first year,” he reports. This problem is especially devastating for the restaurant industry— it leads all other industries in North America with the highest turnover rate. And each failed hire can cost a business up to 2.5 times that employee’s salary.

FocuSinG on the wronG thinGS Does it have to be this way? Well, turns out that we may just be focusing on the wrong things when hiring. “The main predictors of workplace success are personality and experience,” says Baldwin, “but traditional hiring with resumes and interviews is very limited in showing us who a candidate really is and what they’re capable of.” These days, fancy resumewriting services can help everyone sound like a superstar, even if they’re average. Years of experience are also no guarantee of suc-

cess, since someone could easily spend 20 years being mediocre in a job and continue doing the same thing for you. And interviews? Taken in isolation, they go about as deep as a round of speed dating. “Interviews by themselves don’t give the whole picture,” says Baldwin. “The people who are most well-prepared are often the least stable—and when they actually show up for work, they’re different people. There’s also bias that can occur when we like someone or find them attractive. All these things influence perception and can cause us to choose someone who’s a bad fit.”

cryStal Ball For hirinG? Clearly, the status quo isn’t cutting it, and every hiring manager would pay big bucks for a crystal ball that could highlight the best candidates and screen out bad fits. After all, today’s technology can detect the gender of a baby before it’s born, tell us who’s calling before we pick up the phone, and predict the weather days in advance. Why can’t we predict candidate success the same way? Well, it turns out we can—IF we’re looking at the right things. Ben Baldwin co-founded ClearFit because he saw a better way. ClearFit provides an online tool for finding job candidates and predicting who will be successful. their patented software is five times better at predicting success than resumes and interviews alone. “ClearFit screens your candidates for qualifications and

experience, but we also go much deeper,” Baldwin says. “With our Success Prediction Process, candidates answer a 10-15 minute survey, and then you can instantly see whether they have the personality and motivation traits needed to succeed in a role.” This process is also a huge time saver, as you can immediately put aside candidates who don’t have the right personality or skills and focus in on the strongest fits. To date, over 4,000 businesses have used ClearFit, including hundreds in the bar and restaurant industry. It takes only 5-minutes to start hiring for a job, and you’ll also be partnered with a dedicated Hiring Coach to guide you along the way and answer any questions.

you can know! If technology has now enabled us to know exactly who’s on the other end of a phone call—and even the gender and features of an unborn baby— it’s about time we determine who we’re hiring into our businesses before they sign on the dotted line. Bar Magazine readers can access a free trial of ClearFit at Paid packages start at only $199.

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Bar Business Magazine June 2012

How To:

ly Successful Sell Your Bar



ooner or later, the day will come when you are no longer running your business. Whether you decide to pack it all in and retire to sunny Florida, or whether you just want to cash in on all that hard work while you’re young enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor, choosing the right selling strategy will be critically important especially in a tough economy such as the one we are experiencing now. After a decade that saw business sellers calling their own tunes, the economic meltdown of 2008 ushered in a precipitous drop in business sales, mergers, and acquisitions.

The year 2008 was the worst in recent times, according to Bryan Adams of FactSet Research Systems Inc, New York, New York. “Clearly, the second half of 2008 stands out as the bottom, where the market essentially collapsed.” “I believe that the small business market has bottomed out and the worst is behind us,” says Bernie Siegel, Siegel Financial Group, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. “The poor economy of the past couple of years has resulted in many potential business sellers holding off. The result is a pentup supply of potential buyers.”

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


How To: “Last minute, emotional decisions to sell a business seldom end up with a satisfactory sale.” — Dick Marsh, R.H. Marsh Associates Adams agrees. “I feel that an owner putting a business up for sale now will find that there are buyers out there. There are deals to be done, and willing buyers, so if you have a profitable, well-run, and positive cash-flow business, you should be able to find a suitable buyer.” “I believe a seller should choose to sell the business when it makes personal sense to him or her,” says Siegal. “One does not usually sell a business driven solely by financial goals, but rather when it’s time to retire, move on, move up, or whatever.” While this may or may not be the best time to put your beverage business on the block, any time is a good time to be getting it ready. If you have any notion of selling in the near future, take these steps to make sure that you bring a Cinderella to market and not an ugly duckling:

1. Plan ahead “Last minute, emotional decisions to sell a business seldom end up with a satisfactory sale,” says business intermediary Dick Marsh, R.H. Marsh Associates, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. “I often receive phone calls from business owners who have had a frustrating day. ‘I’ve had it,’ they say. ‘I want to sell my business.’ That’s a recipe for failure.” Our experts agree that preparing a business for sale takes more than a few weeks of cosmetic touch-up. Potential buyers will examine your business with a calculating eye. Unless they see the likelihood of an excellent return on their investment, they will move on. That’s the rub. Human nature being what it is, many business owners start to think about selling out when business is slow and profits are sluggish. “That’s exactly the wrong time to sell,” says Marsh. “Nothing is more attractive to a potential buyer than a couple of years of solid growth in gross sales and net income. Nothing will scare off a buyer more quickly than a business that seems stuck in the doldrums.” Preparing your business for sale, then, calls for bringing it into a state of good health. When it looks so good to you that you begin to wonder why you want to sell it, it’s probably ready for the market.

2. KeeP a Realistic View of YouR Business’s Value It’s understandable: You nurtured the business and lived with it during good times and bad. It’s part of you. There is a genuine emotional attachment between you and your bar business. Realistically, your potential buyer doesn’t care at all about your emotional relationship with your business. A buyer has


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

one interest above all others: Can I make this business a success and what return can I expect from my investment? That’s why you need to divorce yourself from emotional considerations and look at your bar from the viewpoint of a cold-hearted buyer. Any business broker can tell you stories about sellers who place unrealistic selling prices on their businesses because they are too emotionally involved to be objective. “The single most important piece of advice I can offer to a business seller is to develop an understanding of what your business is really worth,” says Siegel. “Trying to sell a business for $250,000 that is worth $100,000, not only is not going to happen, but it can result in real damage to the business. Over my 27-year career as a broker, I have witnessed how unrealistic expectations have had terrible results.” Dick Marsh offers this advice: “Ask yourself: 'Would I pay my asking price for this business if I were buying it?' If the answer is no, it’s time for you to reevaluate.”

3. document the PRogRess of YouR Business “The first thing a sophisticated buyer will want to see is three to five years of financial reports in a form that follows conventional accounting standards,” says Marsh. A prospective buyer or his accountant won’t be satisfied with claims that your bar is actually more profitable than financial records indicate. A seller who hopes to get a fair price for a business is going to have to demonstrate its true financial condition in black and white. You may or may not need full balance sheets and operating statements to run your business, but you most certainly will need them if you expect to sell it. “When you’re ready to sell,” says business broker Herman Petrecca, Business Connection Plus, Warminster, Pennsylvania, “you should have copies of all documentation related to the business—leases, a list of capital equipment, accounts receivable and payable, tax returns, etc. It’s also important to have a written description of the business, a current marketing plan, and projections for the future.” It’s in this area that many small business owners come up short, say the experts. “Make sure that your last couple of years of financial reporting are meticulously accurate,” says Siegel, “and be prepared to validate any financial claims.” Paperwork may not be your favorite activity in business, but when it’s time to sell, any inability or unwillingness on your part to produce the required information will tarnish your offering in the marketplace.

4. don’t dRoP the Ball “It’s not uncommon,” says Dick Marsh, “for a seller to neglect the business once it’s been put up for sale. That’s a big mistake. Any evidence that a business may be going downhill is a serious red flag to prospective buyers.” Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can charm potential buyers with excuses or rosy projections of what

Potential buyers will examine your business with a cold, calculating eye. Unless they see the likelihood of an excellent return on their investment, they’ll move on. 7. consideR PRofessional helP

your bar could be under different circumstances. Instead, you can expect them and their accountants to cast a jaundiced eye on your past and present performance as a gauge of actual market value.

5. PRePaRe a selleR’s document Seller’s document may be a phrase that you haven’t heard about, but when you decide to sell your business, it can be an extraordinarily valuable tool. Briefly, you create a seller’s document to tell prospective buyers about your business and why they should buy it. A good one will contain, at the least, a brief history of the business, financial highlights over the past few years, observations about your local market and prospects for growth, and a frank look at the competition. While large businesses often create elaborate brochures with glossy photos and lengthy chapters, most bar owners need not go to such lengths. A two-page summary neatly typed and grammatically correct is often enough. Most important is the content. If you engage a business broker to sell your business, she will be able to help you prepare your seller’s document. How can you tell if your seller’s document will do the job? “A good seller’s document will answer 80% of the questions that a prospective buyer is likely to ask,” says Marsh.

Getting assistance in preparing your seller’s document is not the only reason that you should engage professional help. It is quite difficult for the typical business owner to place a realistic price on his business. Experience suggests that using a professional business broker to sell your business is likely to bring the most satisfactory results, including the best net return for you. However, you may be reluctant to pay a broker’s fee (typically 8% to 10% of the first $1,000,000, scaling downward after that). If you intend to put your business on the market without the services of a broker, you need, at the very least, a good accountant and a good attorney. Both should be experienced in business sales. The sale of a business, even a very small business, is a complex transaction rife with potential frustrations and legal pitfalls. Marsh summarizes it this way: “If you’re like the great majority of business sellers, you’ll do the job only once in your lifetime. That means you need to get it done right the first time.”


or less

6. decide what You will tell YouR emPloYees For a variety of reasons, many sellers are reluctant to tell their employees that the business is up for sale. “In my view,” says Marsh, “that’s a mistake. They’re going to find out eventually. In fact, it’s almost impossible to keep employees from knowing that a business is for sale. When they eventually find out, resentment is certain.” “You should inform your employees about plans to sell the business,” says Petrecca. “If they find out from anyone other than you, you will almost certainly lose their respect and loyalty. That, in turn, could influence prospective buyers.”

Offer valid until 6/30/12.

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


Cocktail Culture:

By the Glass



Bar Business Magazine June 2012

In this three-part series from Certified Bar Manager Bob Johnson, we’ll take a look at some contemporary cocktail concepts based on the trio of standard glassware options universal to all bars: Highball, Collins, and Rocks. We hope this helps your staff follow their glasses to fulfill customer expectations. By Bob Johnson Making drinks is not as easy as it looks. There should be a lot of planning and training that goes into every drink made at your bar. You should have a recipe manual for all bartenders to religiously follow, as you cannot take basic drink making for granted these days. Here are many of my secrets and techniques for improving your ability to make today’s drinks better, glass by glass, starting this time with:


For single shots of liquor, pour 1 1/2 ozs of liquor for anything asked for “by itself” or “on the rocks,” e.g., “Scotch on the rocks.” If you're pouring 1 oz or 1 1/4 oz “by the shot,” give the customer the extra liquor in a rocks glass (no mix involved), or charge an extra $.50 for anything by itself, “on the rocks.” (House policy prevails). The rocks glass should not be more than 4½ to 5½ ozs. If it’s larger than 5½ ozs the bartender will have a tendency to put more liquor in the drink to make the pour come up higher in the glass. If you’ve ever seen a 1 oz pour of Johnnie Walker Black in a 7 oz rocks glass, you know what I’m talking about. Once again, this will make the bartender pour more liquor in “self defense” against the customer, because he doesn’t want his potential tip affected. Bartenders must be careful about the old ice in a customer’s rocks glass drink. When a customer orders a refill, always ask if they would like fresh ice, or would they prefer to “build” on top of the old ice.

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


“Any single shot of liquor ordered ‘neat’ always means it's served in an empty rocks glass. It's one shot of the requested liquor poured into the empty rocks glass, and serve. No garnish, no stir stick. Just serve.” The empty rocks glass has several other uses: Alternate Shot Glass. If a customer orders a shot of bourbon, for example, you can put it in a rocks glass (no ice) if you don't want to use a shot glass. Shots of tequila are often served in an empty rocks glass along with the lime wedge and saltshaker. Chilled Recipe Shooters. If a bartender is making a chilled recipe shooter drink, such as Kamikazi, he shakes or hand-swirls the contents of the drink in his shaker can or mixing can, then strains into an empty rocks glass. The total amount of liquor/mix that ends up in the empty rocks glass shouldn't be more than 4 ozs. The empty rocks glass should be chilled. Neat Drinks. Any single shot of liquor ordered “neat” means an empty rocks glass, 1 shot of whatever liquor was ordered poured into the empty rocks glass, serve. No garnish, no stir stick.

Other Rocks Glass Drinks

Two-liquor drinks work well in a rocks glass: Black Russian, Rusty Nail, Stinger, Godmother, Godfather, Kamikaze, etc. The only two-liquor drinks that are truly popular today are the Black Russian and the Kamikazi.

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is one of the great classic cocktails, traditionally placed in stature alongside the Martini, Manhattan, Rob Roy, and Gimlet. Most bartenders don’t enjoy making an Old Fashioned because of the numerous steps involved and the many variations. Does your customer want a regular Old Fashioned, a muddled Old Fashioned, a sweet Old Fashioned, or a sweet muddled Old Fashioned? The regular Old Fashioned starts out in the 9- or 12-oz “double rocks” glass. Put in a teaspoon (one packet) of sugar and a couple drops of Angostura bitters. Add ice to the top of the glass. Pour in approximately 2 shots of whiskey or bourbon (customer preference). Top off with club soda (to the top). Garnish with a cherry (with stem), orange slice and a twist. NOTE: If you keep sugar behind the bar to make an Old Fashioned, never keep the sugar in an open container or bag. It will draw bugs of every variety. Do not use sugar cubes. Use only sugar packets. Each packet equals one teaspoon. Sugar packets give you portion control and won't attract any bugs.

Black Russian

To make a Black Russian correctly you must use Kahlua in the recipe. Bars that substitute a coffee liqueur for Kahlua are making a mistake. Customers who drink Black Russians definitely know the difference. Why alienate them? Just charge a little more for the drink for using the Kahlua. The ratio of vodka to Kahlua is not 1 to 1. This drink is always made with more vodka than Kahlua. Otherwise the Kahlua overpowers the vodka and it doesn’t taste right. The proper recipe for a Black Russian is 1 1/4 ozs vodka and 3/4 oz Kahlua. Put the vodka in first. The Kahlua is heavier and will sift through the vodka automatically. Otherwise the drink will appear to be two layers (the vodka on top of the Kahlua) and it won't look right. And then the bartender must stir it, which amounts to wasted motion.


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

The muddled Old Fashioned starts out with a teaspoon of sugar and a couple drops of Angostura bitters at the bottom of the glass. Separate the orange fruit from the rind (throw away the rind), take the stem out of the cherry, and put both on top of the sugar/bitters. Throw in the lemon twist. Add a dash of club soda. Muddle the sugar, bitters, and fruit together with a bar tool known as a muddler (almost extinct). If you don’t have one, use the back of a bar teaspoon. After these ingredients are mashed, or muddled together, add the ice, 2 shots (2 ½ ozs) of whiskey or bourbon (customer preference), fill to the top with club soda, and serve. There is no fruit garnish on the top of this drink. The sweet Old Fashioned has the fruit on top of the glass (cherry, orange, twist) as a garnish and is topped off with 7-Up or ginger ale instead of club soda. This makes the drink sweet, as the 7-Up takes the place of the sugar. Begin this drink with a few drops of Angostura bitters in the bottom of the glass (no sugar) then ice to the top. Put in 2 shots of whiskey or bourbon, 7-Up, fruit garnish (cherry, orange, twist), and serve. To make a sweet muddled Old Fashioned, you muddle the fruit (separate the orange fruit from its ring, take the stem out of the cherry, throw in the lemon twist) on the bottom of the glass with a couple drops of Angostura bitters. There is no sugar in this recipe. Add ice to fill. Put in 2 shots of whiskey or bourbon, then fill to the top with 7-Up. Jose Macias, Bar Manager at Laurel Park Country Club in Sarasota, Florida, developed a fast way for bartenders to make a muddled Old Fashioned, a technique he learned working as a service bartender. At Jose’s club, the Old Fashioned is popular amongst his middle aged to senior citizen clientele. One day he found himself backed up because of the time it takes to put a muddled Old Fashioned together, so he created a shortcut: Instead of separating the orange fruit from the rind and taking the stem out of the cherry and starting the drink with a teaspoon (packet) of sugar, simply follow Jose’s steps:

The orange juice takes the place of the orange fruit, the grenadine takes the place of the cherry without the stem, and the 7-Up takes the place of the sugar at the bottom of the glass. Why go through the hassle of muddling the fruit in a muddled Old Fashioned when the orange juice and grenadine provide the same end result in more than half the time? Obviously, this is a shortcut technique to prepare a time-consuming drink. Bartenders should not take shortcuts with certain drinks, particularly in front of the customer. It is recommended that Jose's procedure for this classic cocktail be used in service bar, highvolume situations only. Next month, in PART III, we’ll look at Collins Glass Drinks. Bob Johnson, CBM, is a nationally recognized Beverage Management consultant who specializes in multi-unit management of nightclubs/bars and bartending. A 50-year veteran of the bar business, Bob is best known for creating America’s first certification program for bar managers, “CBM” (Certified Bar Manager). Contact Bob at (800) 447-4384 or

“Bartenders should not take shortcuts with certain drinks, particularly in front of the customer.”

GLASS: EMPTY 9-OZ or 12-OZ DOUBLE ROCKS GLASS RECIPE: 2 drops Angostura Bitters Ice to fill 2 shots whiskey or bourbon (customer preference) Dribble of orange juice (1 oz) Dash grenadine (1/4 oz) Fill to top with 7-Up Garnish with a twist

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


d n a r B from to Bar: Ever wonder how that new liquor brand makes the journey from non-existent to the back of your bar in such a seemingly short span? Voli Spirits’ intrepid Vice President of Marketing, Erin Harris, informs us that there is more to a brand’s meteoric rise than a celebrity endorsement. By Elyse Glickman


Bar Business Magazine June 2012


hough an A-list celebrity’s name can move mountains for a brand, it takes a savvy, strategic-thinking navigator to chart the course from base camp to the peak. Just ask Erin Harris, whose marketing prowess has made it possible for a new and influential sub category of vodka to quickly take shape. While she has developed an effective roadmap for Voli Light Vodkas, she’s enlisted musical powerhouses Fergie and Pitbull to lead the charge. Harris is keenly aware of the reality that for every successful A-list-anchored campaign (i.e. George Clooney and Nescafe, Kiera Knightly and Chanel, and, of course, Sean Combs and Cîroc) there are many other misfires that become fodder for Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. Many beverage industry watchers, meanwhile, note that the Sean Combs/Cîroc union, which Harris executed with stunning precision, made her a rising star of spirits marketing. However, she maintains a sense of modesty when discussing how her career evolved. She adds that Combs came to the table wholeheartedly invested in transforming Cîroc from another face in the upscale vodka crowd to an embodiment of a lifestyle his legions of fans already embraced.

From Dream-maker to Game-changer “When people look at my resume, they may think that I started with Sean Combs and Cîroc, but my career began at an entertainment public relations firm called Dream,” Harris recalls. “I was responsible for booking talent and maximizing their presence at the venue where they were appearing, as well as developing collateral and promotional pieces. Though social media was not as big as it is today, we were working through texts and emails to make sure that celebrity name was hitting the streets and getting the buzz going on a product or location. This experience made me realize how much I enjoyed the process of leveraging the celebrities’ names and reputations to drive a brand to higher sales and exposure.”

Voli is a brand currently making its way on-premise. But how?

Erin Harris (left), with Fergie and celebrity trainer Don Brooks, connects her brand with consumers both on-premise and off. But it all starts at the bar.

It takes foresight and good instincts to play matchmaker for product and spokesperson, and throughout her early career, the Howard University-educated Harris knew she had both the passion and the unique skills set to make the right connections. “I earned my BA in finance, and it has turned out to be one of my best assets for what I do in marketing,” says Harris. “Though a lot of people in marketing come from a strictly marketing background, having my finance education gives me an edge because so much of what I do is all about the sales and how to leverage each dollar to get a specific number of published and broadcast impressions. There is a lot of budgeting involved, and a lot of analysis about why certain business ventures are worth what they are worth.” A mix of finance and marketing know-how also prepared Harris for the technological revolution of social networking that has completely transformed the media landscape at every level. Harris says she has succeeded precisely because she recognized the emergence of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of online social networking went far beyond being a marketing game changer. “I don’t think a lot of brands would be here today if it weren’t for social media,” she states matter-of-factly. “Social media is one of the few platforms that maintains a sense of authenticity in the minds of consumers and the trade because it is so instant and immediate. Five years ago, the main platforms were actual placements in print editorial, broadcast television and commercials. Social media has turned into a free standing platform in its own right, and there is a necessity to create a separate campaign. The new challenge arises when you have to figure out how to leverage your social media campaign to enhance your paid media campaigns in today’s marketing climate.”

Picking up the P.A.C.E.S.

Though social media has enlarged the canvas for both the celebrity “artist” and the beverage marketing team, Harris acknowledges any campaign will rise or fall based on how June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


The Ferguson Ingredients: • 1 1/2 oz Voli lemon • 3/4 oz Apple Pucker • 2 fresh lemon squeezes • Top with soda • Apple slice for garnish • Glass: Rocks • Approximate Calories: 118

genuinely his or her personality, body of work and affection for the product will connect with the audience. For this reason, she has fashioned a formula, P.A.C.E.S., that can help determine how well matched a celebrity is with a brand. As she explains it, the formula breaks down this way: P — What type of Personality does the celebrity have? Is it a fit with all the meetings, appearances, signings that they may have to execute? A — Is the celebrity an Authentic partner for the brand? C — What is the Cost of this partnership? Does this allow you appropriate funds for execution with the celebrity name, likeness and platforms? E — There has to be an Energy and extreme belief in the brand by the celebrity. S — Synergy. What other brands is this celebrity tied to, and how can these brands work together and determine the success of your brand. When it comes to on-premise spirits launches and promotions, Harris believes it is critical to follow marketing research and undertake due diligence about potential celebrity brand ambassadors. As she’s witnessed through the years, one of the most common mistakes beverage companies make is partnering with celebrities who may seem to be the right fit on the surface, but paid a price for failing to dig deeper into that personality’s actual following or demographics. “Success for a marketing campaign, like the ones going on now with Fergie and Pitbull, is all about how well you can organically tie your brand into the celebrity’s actual lifestyle,” Harris details. “It’s not about the ‘wows,’ or one Tweet or Facebook posting. It is about the whole 360-degree platform and how efficiently

and effectively you work with all forms of media. With Cîroc, I exploited the relationship between brand and celebrity successfully to drive exposure and sales. I looked at the programming, asked myself why it made sense, and plotted out how I would leverage the platform Combs already had. I use this very same approach in the strategic relationships with Fergie and Pitbull.” Harris advises that if you work with a celebrity, the product will seamlessly blend into their lifestyle. If it is done right, using the product will pick up among his or her celebrity friends, as well as people he or she work with and then on to others. It can also dovetail into co-branding partnerships, as in the case of Fergie and her clothing and accessories lines. “A key thing for campaign success with P.A.C.E.S. is you have to focus on the consumer journey,” she advises. “One of our initiatives, for example, is that what consumers see on-premise, such as Fergie posing with the Ferguson can also drive conversations and actions. The customer who tries the Ferguson will develop a relationship with the bartender and have interaction. That interaction will then help the consumer make the connection off-premise at the liquor store. In this case, the Fergie display with a shelf-talker will spark a memory in the consumer and prompt her to order that on-premise.”

EVoli-ution and Growth Because the vodka category remains one of the most crowded, Harris acknowledges one of her biggest current challenges is positioning Voli as an industry innovator, especially as the “light vodka subcategory” did not exist when the brand first hit the market. Though the category now thrives, thanks in part to Bethany Frankel’s Skinny

“What consumers see on-premise, such as Fergie posing with the Ferguson, can drive conversations and actions. The customer who tries the Ferguson will make that connection off-premise as well.” 38

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

Margarita and other recent launches, Harris believes that the influence and involvement of Fergie and Pitbull reinforce the central brand message: Voli is not just a passing trend but a permanent fixture for people who live like their idols, enjoying life but also keeping fit and maintaining sensible drinking habits. “When I started with Voli, many people did not even know how to pronounce the name,” Harris muses. “Today, we are getting thousands of requests for integration, sponsorships and so on. However, to take this success to the next level to decision makers on-premise we need to perpetuate our new consumer messages, as well as maximize our objective to revolutionize the liquor industry and the competitive vodka category.” This leads back to Harris’ emphasis on social media, which unlike print or electronic media, is two-way communication with the consumer that allows for the exchange of ideas, instant feedback and hands-on research. She notes it further enhances celebrity influence, as they can get direct feedback from their fans about their association

with the product. It will certainly came in handy this summer, when Voli launched its much-anticipated Mango Coconut flavor at a series of pool parties at hotels and clubs whose reputations share a similar upscale/trendy cache with Fergie and Pitbull. These committed celebrities, in turn, cheerfully take ownership— figuratively and literally—in products they genuinely believe in. For the second half of 2012, promotions will continue to revolve around healthy and celebrity lifestyles. “The competition is picking up, and not only are other brands looking at us and taking an interest in what we are doing, but seeing us as innovators creating a category,” observes Harris. “By working with carefully selected celebrities authentic to the Voli brand, it helps us generate other important, category defining messages that Voli is ultra-premium and mixologist-friendly even with significantly fewer calories than other brands. It’s not just important to speak directly to our consumers in their language, but respond in that word-ofmouth way that keeps bartenders and retailers alike busy.”

Proud “Mary” Voli brings levity to Sunday brunch and tailgate parties with modern, healthy cocktails originating from the vodka classic.

The original “Voli” Mary (120 calories) • • • • • • •

2 oz Voli Lyte 2 oz fresh tomato juice 1 tsp horseradish 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce 2 to 4 dashes of hot sauce Pinch of salt and pepper Squeeze of lemon and lime wedges • olive and celery garnish (optional



Designed specifically for hospitality, this Strahl range is stackable, space saving and made from an elegant, easy to carry material. The BenefiTs: • space efficient - behind and on the bar • easy to carry - lightweight yet strong • elegant - crystal clear appearance

• Dishwasher friendly - channels in base allow for easy drainage • Cost saving - durable polycarbonate reduces reorder frequency

Contact us for more information: 1-800-884-4543

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine



Better Bars By Allison Tans

Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse, New York City


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

the Strand House, Manhattan Beach, Ca


magine all of the captivating conversations and aweinspiring moments that have happened at a bar. Bars emanate an energy that is like nothing else. They join people together for appreciable discussions, spontaneous dances and pure merrymaking. That is the draw for so many new bar owners and even experienced veterans, but with that accompanies a vast learning curve, and Tom Tellez is conscious of this, and much more. By all standards, Tellez is a bar aficionado, the mastermind and owner of Wallace & Hinz (W&H), a custom bar company located in the tiny town of Blue Lake in the heart of Humboldt County, California. In 1977 W&H produced their first bar in the college city of Arcata, California at the Plaza Grill. Since then, they have produced hundreds of bars for commercial establishments located within hotels, casinos, military bases, restaurants, country clubs, vineyards and breweries. W&H also builds bars for residences, in addition to designing and installing custom millwork ranging from wainscoting, to home theatres, to entertainment centers, and even custom closets.They are innovative and dedicated to providing the best customer service around. Take it from Willie Degel, proud owner of the prominent New York venue Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse, which includes two W&H bars. “A W&H bar is like a perfectly constructed puzzle that fits together extremely easily,” says Degel. “These guys have a way of making it look easy, and when that happens you know it’s done right.”

“A W&H bar is like a perfectly constructed puzzle.”

For decades, WAllAce & Hinz has been creating some of the most aesthetically appealing bars on the nightlife scene. This is the story of one company that serves one industry, and the love and labor that goes into it.

h, California

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


Degel, who also hosts the Food Network’s “Restaurant Stakeout,” is known for his high maintenance work ethic and his impeccable attention to detail. “These bars provide the customer with a warm, cozy feeling as they sip their cocktails in an old world setting” he says. “There is nothing else like them.” Degel reminisces about how the design process proceeded back and forth several times with minute changes and additions. W&H’s designers were familiar with Degel’s dynamic demeanor and were thrilled when they were able to produce exactly what he asked.

EXPERIENCE lessons learned Detailed design and the actual layout when building a bar are concepts that appear to be so simple, yet are often found to be supremely complex, and can even be taken for granted and neglected, especially when it comes to critical components such as plumbing, electrical needs, and even drainage in the floor. These are the aspects that no one wants to have to think about. Likewise, regulatory codes are markedly more stringent is some states than others, so when the W&H crew assumes command, they are competent in handling the most challenging of circumstances. The bar business is literally second nature to Tellez, who began working at W&H as a sander, then worked his way up to production manager and eventually purchased the company nearly a decade ago. Even as the owner, Tellez can often be found out on the production floor with his highly skilled team of designers, artisans, woodcrafters and finishers. This group is deeply committed to the entire production process, from the initial meeting (involving taking measurements and discussing visions), to the actual install process, and any necessary follow up once the bar opens. Tellez’s expertise recently landed him a section in the “Creating and Maintaining a Bar Business” chapter of the college text, The Bar & Beverage Book, Fifth Edition by Costas Katsigris and Chris Thomas. The most important advice he offers is to “research your project endlessly and always draft a business plan.” Eighty percent of successful businesses have a written plan, and eighty percent of failed businesses do not. Tellez recommends always being cognizant of your customers, and supporting their needs. Trends come 42

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

and go, so you want to create an environment that will support customer growth and lead to many years of success with minimized regrets. One trend that has been on the rise for some time is building eco-efficient bars, with costeffective lighting. There is little doubt that this trend will continue to grow.

CASE STUDY The Speakeasy Inspired by the energy and positive vibes from a vacation to New Orleans, Karina Estrada and Cameron McCracken returned home, and opened The Speakeasy, a trendy lounge in a quaint little back alley nook in Old Town, Eureka. Estrada was new to the owner side of the bar industry, but she was electrified,

and knew there were features from New Orleans that she wanted to reproduce in a chic vintage building she had just purchased. She dreamed of recreating the nighttime sky with scientifically accurate constellations she had observed on the Bayou, and of generating that full-on New Orleans experience including an eclectic drink menu. W&H devised a plan, and Estrada ran it by a few experienced bartender friends who were unable to detect a single flaw. Today ,Estrada says, “I would not change a thing. The bar is perfect. W&H worked with my building’s dimensions and I am completely impressed with their work ethic and their overall functionality. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they thought of absolutely everything.”

the residual Sugar Wine Bar, Walnut Creek, California

“These bars provide the customer with a warm, cozy feeling as they sip their cocktails in an old world setting. There is nothing else like them.”

Get Your


In print, in person and online, the premier “How-to” resource.



stylish pub with rich woodwork on the building’s interior and exterior including the doors and trim. A separate entrance with large mahogany doors open to a plush lounge downstairs. While Johnny Foley’s is the perfect rendition of the classic pub complete with perfect pints, festive food and lively music, Dueling Pianos is an amazing lounge with fabulous entertainment and ambrosial drinks. What better way to spend an evening than requesting, singing and dancing to hot hit songs in a quintessential environment?

THE FUTURE Biloxi and Beyond The Zen Lounge in Silicon Valley, California, fused Asian design with a meditative feel, including red LED lighting throughout.

THE WORK Challenging and Rewarding W&H is the first to admit that building a bar is difficult, but that is exactly what motivates them. They embrace a challenge, and honor those who provide them the opportunity. The Zen Lounge in Silicon Valley was an entirely unique design for them. Owner, Sarah Zigler was seeking a fused Asian concept with a meditative feeling. She also wanted LED sultry red lighting so that everyone would look magnificent. W&H produced not only an amazing glass topped bar, but also a breathtakingly beautiful red pagoda. There is a chrome rail at the base of the bar with accent lights beside it to accentuate the bar die wall. Zigler explains, “ I wanted to do all of this without having to close down the bar, so all of the designing and building were done offsite, and work was completed very rapidly. The communication was excellent throughout the process, and they beat the deadline.” The ambiance in the Zen Lounge is phenomenal, and the bar was created absolutely masterfully. A major focus of bar design must be based on the mixologist’s movements and their ability to nearly effortlessly have access to the customer flow. When this happens, their work becomes less complicated and they are able to dedicate their full 44

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

attention to concocting delectable drinks and cocktails. San Francisco’s Union Square is the home of Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub and Cellar Bar (aka Dueling Pianos) downstairs. W& H was delighted to produce these incredible bars with contrasting styles. Upstairs is a well-lit

Exciting projects on the horizon include a hip modern bar in Biloxi, a sophisticated wine cave in Napa Valley and a historical renovation project in Portland. Mixing it up is what keeps W&H alive and in the loop. Designs can easily shift into rapid motion once square footage is taken, a floor plan is laid out, and ideas are emanated. W&H can be reached via their Web site, on Facebook and Twitter or at 1-800831-8282. Allison Tans lives in beautiful Northern California, and works as a journalist when she takes a break from being an analyst for Humboldt County.

The Strand House in Manhattan Beach, California, boasts a beautiful main bar built by Wallace & Hinz.

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Steeped in SpeakeaSy HiStory When it comes to connections between cities and certain types of bars, historically speaking, the speakeasy is a deep part of Chicago lore thanks to Prohibition figures like Al Capone and Midwestern bootleggers. As such, it seems fitting that an unannounced, unadvertised, and unadorned den of spirits called (of course) Untitled opens its doors this month in the Windy City.


he term "speakeasy" might have originated in Pennsylvania in 1888, when saloon owner Kate Hester refused to pay the state’s new license fee and, trying not to draw attention to her now illegal establishment, would hush her customers by whispering, "Speak easy, boys! Speak easy!" But it was in the 1920s, during the heart of Prohibition, that 46

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

Al Capone followed a childhood friend from Brooklyn to the streets of Chicago to start running the biggest bootlegging “business” in America, forever tying his bloody legacy to the Windy City. When one thinks of speakeasies and bootleg liquor, Chicago is at the forefront of any such scenario. Fittingly, with the speakeasy style popular again in modern nightlife, the folks opening Untitled this month at

111 West Kinzie Street in the river north neighborhood of Chicago prepare to pay homage to the city’s history with appropriately stylized service, entertainment, and spirits. “When it comes to the notion of the speakeasy, of course it was huge back in the days when we had Al Capone and all those guys running around,” says Art Mendoza, Chief operating officer at Untitled. “So a lot of the components that we feature, they are Chicago: Having the largest selection of American whisky in the country, that’s part of the city; the music we’re going to be supporting are local artists and great talent that we have here in Chicago. So yes, we definitely feel it is all part of the connection with the city.” the aptly named Untitled recalls the vibrancy of supper club and speakeasy establishments of the Jazz Age and

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Prohibition era; the venue’s cuisine, libations, live music and performance aim to be reflective of early 20th century Americana. the ownership here aims to bring something to Chicago that reflects back upon the people it hopes to serve. “i think the beauty of this entity is that we’re priding ourselves on offering something that no one in this city is able to offer,” says Mendoza. “From the cuisine that is of very high quality but is also approachable and Americaninspired, to the handcrafted cocktails from our bartenders— including this year's winner of the national restaurant Association's Star of the Bar competition—it all speaks to the time and effort we’ve put into hiring high quality staff and producing something special for Chicago.” the bar room itself aims to bring Untitled’s patrons back to the roaring 20s upon entering. the dining room features a number of cocooned booths, table seating, a private chef's room, and a Champagne and raw bar. the library, with its soaring ceilings, leather tufted walls, and velvet booths, boasts the largest selection of American whiskies in the world, as mentioned earlier. Floor to ceiling liquor lockers allow select patrons to store unfinished spirits.

A sliding wall gives way to the lounge, featuring a 30-foot foot long bar, live performance space, and backstage seating for “entitled” patrons. there is, of course, a secret entrance from the rear of the space from Carroll Street. guests with Back Stage reservations are sent a unique code by text message that they key-in to unlock the door where they are greeted and led through a labyrinth to their table. And of course, the staff is dressed for the part throughout. “the bartenders are going to be wearing shirts with vests and maybe wearing a fedora, but not too much, not taking it to the level of, ‘i feel like i’m at a costume party,’” says Felipe ospina, general Manager at Untitled. “it’s going to be modern but at the same time inspired by that period.” the cuisine, with modern twists on classic American dishes from that era (think grit Cakes and oysters rockefeller), will be complimented by a vast selection of premium spirits, sparkling wines and a menu of handcrafted cocktails—some available exclusively at Untitled. Beverage experts Adam Scholten and Matthew “Choo” lipsky developed an expansive beverage program and lead a team of talented mixologists from all over the city. “i believe we’re starting off with 30 different cocktails on the list, a lot of them being what we call American classics like a Manhattan, or an old Fashioned, but with a contemporary spin,” says Mendoza. “it’s all in tribute to the drinks of that period.” Some of the innovative cocktails include the Bootlegger’s Breakfast (old Forester bourbon, orange marmalade, aperol,

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine





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Peychaud’s bitters), the Pistol Smoke (blended Scotch, pipe tobacco [yes, actual pipe tobacco!], chamomile tea, vanilla, lemon), and a take on a classic, the Corpse reviver no. 2 (Plymouth gin, Cointreau, lillet Blanc, lemon). And of course, every drink is served in a speakeasy-appropriate vessel. “When it comes to glassware and plate ware and chairs and things like that, we wanted it to feel like it was a


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

collection of items someone would’ve pieced together for an illegal speakeasy,” says Mendoza, “so a lot of the glassware doesn’t even match, a lot of the plate ware doesn’t match, and we have different styles of chairs in every room. We wanted to feel like it was a collection of things that were gathered throughout the years.” entertainment director nicolle Wood curates nightly live entertainment from a broad variety of musicians and entertainers. Performances give a nod and suggestive wink to the 1920s through the 1960s, times that made America want to tap its feet, move its hips, and wet its whistle. one night there may be a great blues group or big band, on another a burlesque show. Post live entertainment features a carefully curated music selection mixed by dJ's spinning a combination of digital and vinyl at a mobile dJ station. “With the live entertainment, i think everyone knows that Chicago is a hub for music, but a lot of the places pigeon-hole themselves into a genre,” says ospina. “We want to be able to tip the hat to the early American jazz era but also incorporate some newer artists that play modern music that sounds old, and vice versa.”

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The 18,000-square-foot space inhabited by Untitled allowed Mendoza and Ospina to unravel the customer experience inch-by-inch, so that people become immersed in the vibe and the environment more and more as they move about the venue; it starts with finding the place, and continues from there. “When we looked at the vast size of the space, we figured it needed to be a restaurant first and then a supper club with the entertainment aspect,” says Mendoza. “And it just started evolving, and now we’re at a point where we’re not going to change much. The décor is very old-school—we only have ten foot of frontage outside, and if you’ve been to Chicago you’ve probably walked by this space a hundred times. To make that frontage pop, the doors have oldstyle peepholes you used to see in the Prohibition days. There’s not even enough room for a sign, so were not going to put our Untitled name out there, we’re just going to have the address: 111.” Speak easy, folks. Speak easy.

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June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


Inventory The Check Is Ready With Chexready

We have developed a patent-pending product of durable vinyl with a screenprinted logo that makes perfect sense. Similar to what is currently widely used in the industry, our product takes the guesswork out of the ever-so-present question: “Is the check ready?" While there are fancy electronic devices that perform the same task, not every application warrants the expense. For a minimal investment, you can eliminate the ever-so-common problems: First, people who are in a hurry to leave. Second, people who would like to stay and not be bothered. Simply instruct your staff to have customers leave the “ready” logo facing up when they are ready to present payment and any staff on duty is alerted that the chexready. Find out more at

Naughty Cow Is Chocolate Milk for Grownups Independent Distillers launched a brand new product on May 1st called Naughty Cow, or as we like to call it, “chocolate milk for grownups.” Naughty Cow is made with high-quality vodka and features a unique milk-processing technique that creates a smooth, realcream beverage with a delicious chocolate flavor. Packaged in 750-ml bottles with eye-catching graphics, Naughty Cow is a serious contender in this growing category. Cases are made to look like wooden milk crates and share the same innovative graphics as the bottles. Independent Distillers has also created two fun cocktail drinks using Naughty Cow: The "Holy Cow" features 2 parts Naughty Cow, 1 part vanilla vodka, 1 small scoop of vanilla ice cream, garnished with a halo of Cointreau. Drink number two, the "Nutty Cow," calls for 2 parts Naughty Cow, 1 part Frangelico, garnished with whipped cream. Recipes are provided to retailers to pass along to their customers. For more information, visit 50

Bar Business Magazine June 2012

Digital Display Technology Gets Flexible Advanced flexible display technology is making flexible communications displays cost-effective and allowing owners to position digital signage in previously inaccessible locations and use them in ways that were never possible before. Because of the infinite number of uses and applications that benefit from lightweight displays that can be installed quickly and easily, the flexible display revolution is beginning today. With the staggering number of application-specific displays being manufactured today, this type of multi-use display is a breath of fresh air. With the advent of large, lightweight, variablebrightness, flexible digital displays that can be relocated easily and hung on a wall as simply as a painting, the need to juggle an inventory of projectors and flat screen LCD displays becomes a thing of the past. Find out more at

Skinnygirl Margaritas Hit the Summer Season Skinnygirl Cocktails, one of the fastest growing brands in the spirits industry, is the groundbreaking, low-calorie portfolio that has redefined the way women cocktail. What started in TV personality Bethenny Frankel’s kitchen has turned into a cocktail phenomenon-- offering innovative, guilt-free options for women who want it all. Skinnygirl Cocktails is thrilled to put a twist on the Skinnygirl Margarita, the instant classic that started it all, and introduce Skinnygirl White Peach Margarita. White Peach Margarita is very fruit forward and offers a light and refreshing taste with flavors of sweet and juicy peach complimented with notes of silver tequila, tropical tones and lime with a lingering finish of peach and lime. At only 100 calories per 4 oz. serving, White Peach Margarita offers a satisfying cocktail while helping save calories for other indulgences. Visit

Gabrielle Wine Enters Market to Rave Reviews

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Announces Limited U.S. Launch

Gabrielle Wine, a product of Ambition Beverages, has just been met with rave reviews and awards as it enters the spirits market. Gabrielle Rose and Blanc de Blancs were both chosen as Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s top-rated sparkling wines, with best-buy recommendations. Wine Spectator gave it a best value designation, and and the Beverage Tasting Institute gave Gabrielle Rose a silver award and highly recommended it with a best buy nod. Both flavors were also given scores of 85 and 86, respectively with strong recommendations from the Ultimate Wine Challenge. Gabrielle Wine was created to offer a top-notch product at an affordable price. Gabrielle's distinct flavor is made using a Chardonnay base from grapes grown in a vineyard in Hudson, New York, along the Hudson River, in the foothills of Olana Castle. Adding to its authenticity, Gabrielle is made using the traditional champonise method. Chose from the brut (retails for $9), or the rose, ($10). Gabrielle is distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits. Visit

Just in time for summer, Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, one of Scotland’s best-loved brands, has made it to our shores with limited rollout distribution in NY, MA, KY, WI, DC, MA, IL, CA, TX and OH. Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer is a spicy, refreshing drink made using a traditional process and remains true to the same exotic recipe that was first crafted by John Crabbie & Co in Edinburgh in 1801. Still proudly produced by the Crabbie clan, it is now one of Europe’s best-known brands and has ridden a wave of excitement that has seen ginger beer become the runaway hit of the European summer. In the UK, the Brits are now drinking 3.3 million cases per year Already dubbed the ‘new cider’ and tapping into consumer desire for ‘craft’, it’s the perfect refresher for nostalgic drinkers who remember the traditional ginger beer of yesteryear. Find out more at

New Flavors for Torani’s Real Fruit Smoothie Line

Whipsy Offers Alcohol Infused Whipped Cream

Fresh, sun-ripened fruit expertly blended by Torani creates two new Real Fruit Smoothie Mix flavors. New Green Apple delivers the deliciously refreshing flavor of tart green apple while Piña Colada combines tangy, sweet pineapple with creamy coconut for a tropical escape all year round. These new flavors join Torani’s award-winning Real Fruit Smoothie Mix product line, 2009 Best New Specialty Beverage Product at SCAA, now offering operators a total of 10 on-trend, fresh and deliciously easy smoothie flavor options. Torani Real Fruit Smoothie Mixes are designed to be easy to use—just pour over ice, blend and serve. The no-glug pour, comfort-grip handle and custom bottle shape deliver a quick, smooth pour without spilling and the colorcoded labels make it easy to identify flavors quickly. Torani Real Fruit Smoothie Mixes are a profitable menu item for operators looking to enter the hot market of cool smoothies. Visit

Look out Pinnacle and Smirnoff, the “whipped cream” craze just got a little sweeter, (pun intended!) Whipsy, whipped cream is in the house! Whipsy is a 27 proof (13.5% alc. / vol.) aerosol whipped cream (like Reddi–wip) which comes in three taste bud tantalizing flavors: Ooh-LaLa Original, Hazey Hazelnut & Loco Cocoa. Inspired by the New Orleans culinary tradition and infused with the spirit of Mardi Gras, Whipsy is sure to be the life of any party! Enjoy Whipsy in a variety of ways; Put it on top of your favorite cocktail: White Russian, Chocolatini, or Irish Coffee. Making flavored vodka shots? Whipsy will ‘Top Dat!’ Of course, the best way to get whipped is straight from the can! According to Mark Gabriel, VP of Whipsy, it’s no wonder why “Everybody in the club gettin’ Whipsy!” Visit Whipsy’s web site:

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


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Holiday Happenings

July 2012





July 4: National Country Music Day. I hate country music. But if you like it, and if you have a nice 4th of July crowd in the bar on this night, honor the holiday by playing all country music. Just don’t invite me in for a beer.

July 6: National Fried Chicken Day. Per our How To Food and Cocktail Pairing article in this issue, celebrate this truly American holiday by serving up some crisp gin martinis and ordering buckets of KFC.

July 10: Clerihew Day. A Clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. On this night, challenge your patrons to write their own Clerihew, with the winner getting a free tab.

July 12: Different Colored Eyes Day. On this night, offer paired shooters on special, served next to each other in shot glasses: The Red Snapper (1 oz Crown Royal Canadian whisky, 1 oz amaretto liqueur, 2 oz cranberry juice) and the Blue Bomber (3/4 oz Blue Curacao liqueur, 1/4 oz Bailey's Irish cream, 1 oz 7-Up soda, 1 oz soda water). You'll see why.

15 July 15: Cow Appreciation Day. Get your hands on some Naughty Cow chocolate milk for adults and show our bovine buddies how much you love getting drunk on their goods.

23 July 23: Hot Enough For Ya? Day. I don’t care if it’s 106 degrees outside, anyone who uses this phrase today—or any other day for that matter—gets 86’ed immediately. This has been declared a year-long holiday.

24 July 24: Tell an Old Joke Day. Guy walks into a bar . . .


27 July 27: Summer Olympics. With the games being held in London, at least we know the athletes and those in attendance have access to some of the best cocktail bars in the world. Is drinking an Olympic sport yet? If so, gold medal to the Bar Business staff.

July 13: Embrace Your Geekness Day. Free drink to anyone who can give you Captain James T. Kirk’s middle name upon request.

Answer: Tiberius

28 July 28: National Milk Chocolate Day. See July 15.

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


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Bar Business Magazine June 2012

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Inventory Companies Chexready Crabbies Ginger Beer Gabrielle Wine Nanolumens Naughty Cow Skinnygirl Margaritas Torani Whipsy

To advertise in Bar Business Magazine contact, Art Sutley, Ph: 212-620-7247, e-mail: OR Vanessa Di Stefano, Ph: 212-620-7263, email:

June 2012 Bar Business Magazine


Supply Side Spotlight

One Brand Flips For Rum

As a longtime supplier of quality American wine varietals, the flipflop brand recently decided to walk its way into the rum category with its first two offerings—a silver and a spiced Caribbean style. We spoke with Jeff Dubiel, Executive Vice President of Marketing at The Wine Group, parent company to flipflop, on transitioning from grapevine to sugar cane and positioning a new product on-premise. BB: What was it like going from wine production to rum? DuBiel: There actually are many similarities between wine and rum. Both start with something very sweet and simple that is refined through many stages to become something exceptional. Unlike many other spirits, rums are often aged like wine and respond differently to the climates in the diverse international regions that produce the world’s best products. The natural filtering process and marrying of various blends is also part of the recipe shared by wines and rums. BB: What are the differences in marketing a rum versus wine? DuBiel: Consumers often select a beverage to enjoy based upon the given moment. Are they pairing something with a particular food? Are they toasting at a grand celebration or relaxing after a long day? Regardless of occasion, the flipflop brand communication is consistent across wine and rum—our casual lifestyle message and expressive flavors appeal to our consumers. This is a primary reason we work with brand ambassador James Moreland, whose expertise spans both wine and spirits. BB: How can you keep the brand from being relegated just a seasonal cocktail base? DuBiel: This plays right into our philosophy and mantra “To Each Their Own.” flipflop caters to a casual lifestyle and attitude that rejects the notion that certain drinks are


Bar Business Magazine June 2012

appropriate only for certain times and occasions. Enjoyment and relaxation are not seasonal experiences. All you have to do is look at sales of rums in a state like Minnesota, which does not have many summer-like days. BB: How did the brand start working with the shoe-recycling charity Soles4Souls? DuBiel: flipflop partnered with Soles4Souls upon launching its wine in 2011. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of flipflop branded products benefits S4S. Beyond the brand’s contributions, flipflop is helping spread awareness about S4S and its mission to provide shoes to those in need around the world through its various marketing programs, including the upcoming national flip-flop week in June. David Georges, our vintner at flipflop wines, is very proud of our support of this amazing charity. BB: Talk about the two distinct flipflop rum styles and how they can be best used and promoted on-premise. DuBiel: Both of our flipflop rums fall into the classic rum profiles with our silver and spiced versions. flipflop silver rum is light, earthy and bright with a high note finish, while flipflop spiced rum offers a hint of vanilla, and is soft with mellow sweetness and a balanced spice finish on the pallet. On premise, flipflop rum keeps it simple, delicious and affordable for the consumer, a perfect base for mixed drinks.

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Bar Business Magazine May 2012  

On-premise Nightlife

Bar Business Magazine May 2012  

On-premise Nightlife