Surprise! ‘Pop-up bartending’ takes NYC by storm

The ladies behind Common Criminals strike a pose.

Many New Yorkers would agree that one of the greatest aspects of living in this city is the constant element of surprise. Something new always seems to be on the horizon and keeps us all on our toes. 2011 seemed to be the big year for restaurants to experiment with “pop-up” concepts with numerous supper clubs and spots such as What Happens When and Limited Time Only (RIP both spots). However, 2012 is certainly making its debut with new pop-up bartending endeavors sweeping the metropolitan area. As opposed to staying stationary at the same bar, these individuals have found a way to take a concept and apply it to various venues including restaurants and raw spaces. Don’t worry, I rounded up a few of the top events so you won’t have to miss out on the next party.

Common Criminals

What do you get when you mix a bartender, a writer, costumes and hankering for fun? It sounds like a recipe for Common Criminals, a pop-up bartending stint created by Anne Louise Marquis and Leslie Ann Pariseau.  Pariseau admits, “the main reason we started Common Criminals was because we wanted to throw a party for all of our friends…It was mostly visions of us wearing sequins, shaking cocktails, and maybe doing a duet while dancing to French music on top of a bar.” And indeed they have done so. Every 6-8 weeks, this dynamic duo sets up shop in bars such as Mother’s Ruin (18 Spring St  New York, NY 10012) or Lighthouse (145 Borinquen Place Brooklyn NY 11211) and draws a large crowd of devoted drinkers and party-goers for an evening of whimsy and fun.  These parties are complete with themes, stellar DJs such as Nick Van Tiel and Kimiko Masuda, photographers and liquor sponsors. Pariseau adds that, “Pop-ups are about the unexpected and limited-time-only, get-it-while-its-hot fun. People want to be surprised, and we always make sure there’s enough quirk involved so something unexpected takes place. We like details, like voodoo dolls, and impromptu toasts, and taking our pants off for the sake of a no-pants party.  Frankly, the perk is having fun. And drinking a lot of champagne while we do it.” The best way to hear about these parties is through the Common Criminals Facebook page or Twitter account. Get on their list so you can also receive fun trailers about their next party with videos like this one:

Shenanigans For Charity

Bankers by day, bartenders by night. Sounds like Batman may have some new competition. Faisal Saidi and Christian Capasso teamed up three years ago to establish this organization that now works with Prime Produce, a non-profit which is a collective of grassroots volunteers using innovate platforms and projects that positively impact the nonprofit sector. Capasso says that, “Faisal and I embarked on a guest bartending tour in the city as an excuse to relive our Columbia Bartending Agency days and to get our friends together on a regular basis. We did not plan to keep our tips and decided to donate them to charity. After a few gigs however, we were making more in tips than we ever expected to so we shifted our focus to the philanthropic angle of our events. Hence, Shenanigans for Charity was born.” These boys, along with a massive friends and customer following, a few DJs, and many bars which willingly open their doors to this group, have been working their magic around NYC. Various charities have benefitted from their time shaking and mixing behind the bar and the team of bartenders who donate their time for this organization has grown since its inception. Drinking for a good cause? Sounds like a perfect reason to spend a few well earned dollars for a cocktail or two. Jerone Hsu, founder of Prime Produce says, “Through programs like Shenanigans for Charity, we are able to leverage our social network of like-minded individuals to promote and financially support altruistic causes.  Also, we have a lot of fun together.  Almost too much fun.” Follow them on twitter here: http://twitter.com/shnngns4charity or their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/ShenanigansForCharity

The Cocktail Front/Brooklyn Bar Chef 

Can you keep a secret? If you can’t then perhaps this isn’t the party for you. Max Messier, aka the Brooklyn Bar chef, has been busy at work with his series of pop-up bartending events ranging in venues from bead Shops, apartments and raw spaces around Brooklyn and Manhattan.  With an email list filled with thirsty patrons, a slew of liquor sponsors and musical guests ready to rock out, Max has crafted the perfect party for 3 hours at a time. These pop-ups happen about twice a month with the venue location announced only hours before the event. I was able to take some time to chat a bit more in depth about his speakeasy-esque parties and the thrill of engaging in this type of bartending platform. Play the video to learn more about Messier’s events or visit his webiste at http://www.wtf-brooklyn.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/brooklynbarchef.

We spoke with Messier below:


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