My first New Orleans and Tales of the Cocktail visit didn’t start very well, as my flight from New York was several hours delayed and I didn’t arrive at our apartment until 1 AM. Among other things I had planned to have a few drinks at the Employees Only party upon arrival, but they probably wouldn’t have let me in anyway since I heard it was extremely busy all night long. Too bad, but I guess a good night’s sleep didn’t hurt…
Fast forward to Friday evening, when my plans suddenly changed as my Swedish friend Helena decided not to attend Bar Room Brawl and gave me her ticket. Shortly afterwards, she changed her mind and we went together with some of her local friends to Corporation Bar & Grill, just opposite of the event venue, for a few drinks. It turned out to be a very friendly neighbourhood bar, unfortunately with a very limited choice of alcoholic beverages, but at least I managed to try a Dixie Lager for the first time in my life AND impress one of the regulars by identifying Bacardi Oakheart in a blind test – not bad!
|Steve Schneider-Hadzismajlovic, Employees Only|
When we finally got to Generations Hall there was a huge crowd outside waiting to get in, but fortunately it didn’t take long before we were inside. It was of course packed with people doing their best to have fun and drink as many free cocktails as possible. After all, it was a competition so we were supposed to vote – and the best way to make up your mind must be to sample all available cocktails, right?
Six bars from around the country – Anvil Bar and Refuge, Beretta, Employees Only, Manifesto, The Passenger/Columbia Room and Rob Roy – competed against each other with special menus using 10 Cane rum, Belvedere vodka, Grand Marnier liqueur and Hennessy cognac to win either the judges’ and/or the people’s award. I have to admit that after a while, everything became a blur – but I remember that Dev Johnson over at Employees Only made me a cocktail which blew me away – hence my vote for them.
I had a blast during the entire evening, meeting lots of old and new friends, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many of my Swedish compatriots there. Time passed almost too quickly, because suddenly it was time to announce the winners. As I had hoped, Employees Only righteously won the people’s award, and the judges crowned Beretta as the best cocktail bar in America – well done! This made me even more anxious to visit both New York and San Francisco again soon. Hmm, let’s check my calendar…
|Happy winners of the Bar Room Brawl|