View Full Version : New Bar - New Opportunities

04-19-2007, 08:08
So, the bar at the corner just changes hands and the new owners change the name, paint the plywood siding and commision a big mural logo on the side of the building. I'm about to go in and check it out, but the recent Maker's Mark "note of shame" thread has got me wondering what is the best way to request a they carry a coupleof good bourbons.

My style would be to talk with the bartender, not leave a note. But what to request, and how much to expect? I'm not going to say "get some Pappy 20, and I'll have a shot"; I'd just damage the creditability of anything else I might say. I'd like it to become a bar I frequent.

For about the same price as MM they could stock Weller Antique, EC12, Rittenhouse Rye (it's pricey here, unlike Utah), or Grand Dad BIB. We all know great options that start just above these in price. But on the request of a single walk-in would a bar even get one bottle that wasn't being pushed by a rep?

I have nightmarish visions of showing an interest in better bourbon (or even a rye), the bartender remembers something about someone talking to him and says something to the manager in passing, the manager isn't a bourbon drinker, so asks the rep what's good, and the rep brings in the wooden display for Booker, Baker, Basil and Knobby. And then, I'm not interested in what the rep is pushing so no one, not even me, ever orders the "specialty" bourbons, and the manager concludes he should forget about weird liquor noone's ever heard of and just order more Cuervo - Cinco de Mayo's coming and they come with party hats and banners this week.

Has anyone successfully gotten their neighborhood watering hole to carry a better selection? What's the best method?


04-19-2007, 12:54
Hey Roger.....We (Jeff, Gregg Perry and I) have a local watering hole that we asked the bartenderess to add Weller and WT RR to their whiskey list. Another buddy asked and got them to carry his favorite scotch. Its a place the group frequents and they were glad to oblige.....which I think was the key. They see us in there every week and know we'll be buying the occasional whiskey from them. When RR was going from 101 to 90 proof, they even stocked up on the 101 in advance at our request. BTW, they offer a heavy 1 1/2oz of RR for $4.75. When we requested the Weller and RR, we both wanted better options that they could sell at $5 or less.

Many bars (and bartenders) pay the bills by having a group of "regulars" and what better way to accomplish that than to offer them their favorite pour.


04-20-2007, 12:01
I've found the following works:

1) Become a regular customer
2) Be a genial customer and a regular tipper and be nice to the bartender. (This is always good advice that I learned from my Dad)
3) Request if they can get a favorite pour. Be specific as to what you want. Also be realistic --- don't try for something too expensive or exotic that will be difficult to acquire or overly slow to move.
4) Be sure to thank both the bartender and owner / bar manager if they accomodate your request.
5) Drink what you requested and do so regularly (and if possible) frequently. If possible, bring friends with you to do the same.

I've been able to "influence" the selection at several bars by doing this. You'll be more successful at locally-owned, single-location establishments. The big chain places often are at the whim of the "buyer" at headquarters.

04-21-2007, 00:16
I've been in so many bars that don't even know what bourbon is! They think JD is the start and finish of it!
Tonight, well I guess it was last night come to think of it, we were in a bar in Brooklyn that really gets it! We went in after wandering around Atlantic Avenue, picking up a bottle of Black Maple Hill 95 proof (we thought it was real nice) which we sampled with our Lebanese meal of lamb stuffed cabbage and baked Tilapia fillet topped with crushed walnuts & almonds. Great bourbon matches, the stuff (bourbon that is) is just so versatile!

Anyway, in the bar I had a gorgeous Old Charter 13 yr from a crusty looking bottle; fabulous pour! Viscous with a long finish, very complex, I was thinking vanilla, almonds, some kind of fruit, a bit of liqourice, and lots of other components I couldn't put a label on!

Here's what they had on offer: Hirsch 16 yr, Old Charter 13 yr, Rock Hill Farms, Old Pogue, Potero 18th Century Rye, Baker's, Bookers, Eagle Rare SB 10 yr, Hancocks Reserve, Blanton's, Rebel Yell, Woodford Reserve, JB Black, Wild Turkey RR 101, Wt 101, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, Maker's, Michter's Rye, Old Overholt, and probably one or two I forgot! Now this, is a worthy "bourbon bar"! These guys ought to offer free consultation to the non believers!! Tom V

04-21-2007, 10:20

Have you others that might frequent the said place who might also drop the same requests? If so you have a much better chance of re-inforcing what ever your talk might yield.

It really depends on who the person is that is running the show. I've met my share of owners that would "like" a better selection, but do not drink or tend to personally enjoy "neutral spirits" - in many instances they have been very grateful for helpful suggestions. You might be surprised.

If nothing else, and the owner appears to be partriotic, maybe play the "All American" bourbon card.