NEW YORK, N.Y. — Fords Gin and Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal are pleased to announce the return of Bar Fight Club, a competitive evening that celebrates the best of the bar industry highlighting creative cocktails, superb hospitality, a sense of community and the drive for a more inclusive industry. Last held in 2015, Bar Fight Club makes its comeback as the opening party for the inaugural forward-thinking Chicago Style cocktail conference. Bar Fight Club will be held on Monday, May 7, 2018, immediately following the James Beard Foundation Awards, at Fulton Market Kitchen from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Bars across the country were selected based on their nightly routines of superior service and teamwork that go above and beyond guests’ expectations, a diverse bar team that reflects and advocates for their local communities, and demonstrating steps taken to ensure a sustainable future for local and global communities.
Out of over 50 applicants, only six bars were chosen to compete for bragging rights of Bar Fight Club 2018 winner as well as a team trip to London to experience Fords Gin’s distillery and favorite cocktail haunts. A panel of esteemed judges, to be announced at a later date, will name one bar the champion and guests will also vote for a drinker’s choice winner.
The Bar Fight Club 2018 competitors are:
Barmini by José Andrés, Washington, D.C. – Barmini is José Andrés’ cocktail lab adjacent to the two-Michelin starred minibar. Barmini celebrates classic cocktails alongside distinctly modern creations. Offering a menu of more than 100 libations in addition to experiential flights and inventive snacks, barmini is Washington’s premier cocktail destination. It is a learning center where chefs and bartenders collaborate and where heritage meets innovation.
The Drifter, Chicago – Located in an authentic prohibition-era speakeasy, The Drifter is a modern cocktail bar paying homage to its historic roots. Inventive and whimsical cocktails are presented on tarot card and fortune cookie menus. The Drifter’s walls are decked in 20s era circus paintings, with live entertainment running the gamut from burlesque, vaudeville, comedy, magic, hula hoops, music and belly dancing. This women-led bar is a little occult, a little circus and a lot sexy. When stepping into The Drifter, guests are stepping on the same floor where drifters have tread for over 100 years.
Navy Strength, Seattle – Navy Strength is a funky Seattle paradise, offering tropical cocktails from renowned Seattle bartenders Anu and Chris Elford. The drink menu shines with classic tiki drinks, modern tropical explorations, and a special travel section focusing on the flavors and service styles of other countries around the world (currently the Philippines!). The kitchen is helmed by Jeffrey Vance of No Anchor, who explores tropical flavors through the bounty of seafood and vegetation available in the Pacific Northwest. Some bars you date, this bar you marry (and it’s a destination wedding with a beach ceremony and no small amount of rum)!
RiNo Yacht Club, Denver – Influenced by the collective aspects of a social club and built on the idea of community activation, RiNo Yacht Club is a full-service cocktail bar with a multi-purpose approach. Located in the Source Market Hall, Yacht Club is a communal bar that transitions from a casual gathering place during the day to a lively space at the night. The bar serves unique cocktails with a culinary approach and a curated selection of natural wines, with an integrated music program inspired by the staff. A second home to its guests, and a first home for the management, Yacht Club is a platform for events focusing on the industry, community, social justice, sustainability, and good, old-fashioned fun.
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis – Spoon and Stable’s bar program is an extension of James Beard Award-Winning Chef Gavin Kaysen’s kitchen, the heart and soul of the restaurant. Taking advantage of the bar’s home in the middle of the country, the team combines east and west coast cocktail mentality and applies that to reinterpretations of the classics, usually with a culinary twist. Spoon and Stable’s bar creates an atmosphere that balances comfort, fun, and refined elegance in a way that makes every guest who walks through the doors feel innately at home.
Starline Social Club, Oakland, Calif. – The Starline Social Club is three-story historic Victorian bar, restaurant and venue that operates as a multi-use space to support artists, activists and community based entrepreneurs in the exhibition of music, performance, literary, social, culinary and visual media. The Starline is staffed and owned by a diverse and local crew of individuals whom are dedicated to maintaining a safe, inclusive and creative environment that provides for and protects the Oakland community, it’s history and it’s amazing spirit. Starline is three stories of bounce, with the best cocktails in town.
During the evening, each bar will offer a selection of signature cocktails alongside a Fords Gin & tonic bar and Del Maguey mezcal tastings. A select number of tickets are available to the public for $20, with all proceeds benefiting Chicago Style’s charity partners. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit: http://www.drinkchicagostyle.com.
About Fords Gin
Distilled in London at Thames Distillers, Fords Gin is a collaboration between eighth generation Master Distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co, the for-bartenders-by-bartenders spirits company. A mix of nine botanicals, the gin starts with a traditional base of juniper & coriander seed and balanced by citrus (bitter orange, lemon & grapefruit peel), florals (jasmine flower & orris) and spices (angelica & cassia). Steeped for 15 hours before distillation in 500-liter stills, the botanicals deliver an aromatic, fresh and floral spirit with elegant notes of orange blossom that creates a “cocktail gin” that plays beautifully in classic and innovative gin cocktails. Since its launch in 2013, Fords Gin has received numerous awards and accolades. www.fordsgin.com.
About Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal
Founded in 1995 by internationally renowned artist and mezcal visionary Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal introduced the world to previously unavailable artisanal mezcal. Through deep cultural relationships with indigenous producers in Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico, Del Maguey protects and preserves the ancient production processes that have been passed down generationally for hundreds of years. These traditional methods combined with the diverse micro-climates and terroir of Mexico give each expression a unique, complex character that celebrates the art of the family producer. Driven by a devotion to the cultures of Mexico, social and environmental responsibility, and family, Del Maguey is committed to providing the world quality, traditionally crafted mezcals while supporting the communities of Oaxaca through education, technology, access to basic needs and healthy ecosystems. www.delmaguey.com
About Chicago Style
Chicago Style is a forward-thinking cocktail conference being held May 7-10, 2018 with seminars, panels and parties taking place at the Ace Hotel Chicago and throughout the city. Equal parts think and drink, Chicago Style is a gathering of diverse voices centered on the state of our local, national and international cocktail communities. By sharing notes from behind the bar, Chicago Style is designed to nurture the genuine connections and thoughtful conversations that lead to growth and change. For more information, to purchase tickets or see the latest news, please visit www.drinkchicagostyle.com.