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Is the Bar Revolution over?

There is an interesting article on Thrillist...

So what is my take on it?

First of all the obvious - yes the Cocktail Revolution is over! Because there is no more resistant on Bartender-side / operator-side etc. when it comes to the use of quality (and premium) ingredients. Because there is no more resistance of guests to pay for a drink $20.00 (due to alcohol prices here in the UAE - drinks are even more expensive in Dubai). Because there are no more big arguments, if you should use fresh lemons, limes or other juices... This all are an indication: the revolution is over.

The article though brings up another point: it is the commercialization of mixology. In this case I don't really understand the American way of thinking. Even though the prices are creeping up, a lot of Americans (especially bartenders) shy away of increasing prices. Is a cocktail worth $50.00? While this sounds outrageous, we surely have to look at other culinary arts and can confirm: yes - there are almost no upper limits: the average ramen in the USA is probably far more expensive than the premium ramen in Tokyo. And yeah there are some fancy bakeries which take a dollar or two for their oven-wonders - let's not even talk about the wonders of wagyu or even Kobe steak (often in tiny portions). 

Why should a cocktail be limited to $20.00?

This is obviously one way to control "the flow". If a bar is targeted upscale, there are less people, who like to indulge into a rather expensive drink.

There are many other options as well (depending on the type of bar). A membership comes to my mind - not necessarily expensive and stuffy memberships like Gentlemen clubs in England - but more modern and more whimsical ones. Reservations is another point.

No - you might not be able to maximize profits with this type of control - however you will be able to ensure quality consistency as well as sustainability.

I guess - the issue is, that the US sees bars as democratic right - as public houses (which they were in a certain time). But let's face it - a lot have changed, so the bar should change as well.

Back to the nay-saying in the article: The article emphasizes on the issue, that so many cocktail programs are needed, that a lot of people, which don't have the necessary skills are hired. This might be true. However I don't believe, that this is something particularly new. There was always great quality inconsistency throughout bars. There were even videos, where old (very old) bartender did classic drinks - and I found it cringeworthy to watch - because it was so out of fashioned - the drink hasn't been stirred/shaken enough, it has been poured in a warm glass and so on.

I don't think, that the overall picture has changed - only the knowledge and expectations of the average consumer has changed.

Let's sigh here for a moment: the Cocktail Revolution is over - but the quality bar is here to stay!


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