ART BEYOND THE GLASS 2020
A VIRTUAL TELETHON FOR COVID-19 RELIEF
The Ninth Annual Art Beyond the Glass (ABTG) bartender benefit was held on Sunday, May 3rd as an all-day virtual telethon to serve as a COVID-19 relief effort.
L.A. cocktail lovers were able to buy fun-themed, handcrafted cocktails in advance to imbibe on the day of the event. Cocktails were sold in batches of four and a popular package was The Mai Tai Mafia whose motto was “Revenge is a dish best served on crushed ice.” Their pre-made cocktails included a mezcal Zombie, and a boozy Mai Tai.
"Art Beyond the Glass has always been propelled by the creativity and philanthropy of bartenders, who donate their time off to raise much-needed funds for arts non-profits,” said ABTG co-founder Daniel Djang. “The bartender community has supported us from day one, and now we have the opportunity to support them."
“As a member of the L.A. bartender community, I know how important being able to get quick relief is in these times," added Clare Ward, ABTG Head of Production. "ABTG’s new COVID-19 initiative aims to provide relief to bartenders in the Los Angeles area through grants and sponsorship of local initiatives. We hope to provide as much relief as quickly as possible to my Los Angeles bartender family.”
As bartenders got to speak to one another online and geek out on all things booze, members of L.A.’s cocktail culture were able to enjoy their libations while also interacting with a community they’ve been apart from since everyone went into quarantine mode.
And getting to create cool cocktails again was part of the joy for the bartenders.
“It felt good to stretch my creative muscles making cocktails again,” said Thomas Eslinger, Beverage Director at Melrose Umbrella Co. “I've been trying to stay creative in other ways but it felt like a small return to normalcy having to create a new recipe, with a time line, that was going to be shared with people.”
The event served as a great way for the cocktail community to virtually come together and appreciate their love for all things cocktail.
“We sold 250 or so cocktail kits, along with generous tips to the bartenders with every order,” Djang noted. “I was monitoring the Instagram stories leading up to and during the telethon. Everyone was sharing their at-home experiences in real time; it was fantastic. Obviously, it was not the same as a regular ABTG, but for our first-ever virtual event we couldn't have been happier about how it turned out.”
The day also served as a good way for bartenders and bar patrons to reunite and reminisce during such a trying time.
“It's an incredibly difficult time for the industry,” Djang said. “In just the last few days we've learned that iconic bars Pegu Club in New York City and Clyde Common will not be reopening. Laid off staff are struggling just to put food on the table, and the stimulus check (for those that got one) and unemployment will only go so far. The heart and soul of the bar experience is hospitality and gathering together in good times and bad. What will that be like in a post-COVID-19 world? If you follow Shanghai based Chris Lowder on IG (@getlowdernow) it's a look into the near future. There's light at the end of the tunnel, but there will be a difficult adjustment period to the new normal."
Currently there is a silent auction being held through May 10 until 5pm PDT to help raise additional funds.
Bartenders in need of financial support as a result of COVID-19 can apply for a grant at the ABTG website. Applications will be prioritized for bartenders in the most serious need of funds, including (but not limited to) those with existing health conditions, supporting dependents, or diagnosed with COVID-19. ABTG grants will initially be available only to hospitality workers based in L.A. County.
Industry brands, non-industry companies, and individuals interested in supporting the bartender community during this crisis can make a donation via the ABTG web site.