Photography by Zach Skowronek
It doesn’t get much less “tiki” than upstate New York in December, but three local bartenders didn’t let that stop them from hosting the ultimate evening of Pina Coladas, Daiquiris and more at The Coat Room last Monday, December 4.
“We were sitting down over a couple of drinks late one night trying to decide how to bring all of our friends and fellow industry workers together,” says Gerry Akins, the former Hamlet and Ghost bar manager we featured in our fall food and drink issue. “Next thing you know, we had the place packed shoulder to shoulder.”
Indeed, Saratoga showed up for the pop-up event, which saw Akins, Cantina’s John Laden and The Coat Room’s Justin LaViolette team up behind the bar to serve a special menu including the Rum Gerald, whose description on the menu read “It’s just like a boozy drink with extra booze that doesn’t totally taste like booze, ya know?” Other favorite concoctions included the Mezcal Mai Tai, the Rings Over Hawaii milk punch and an Asian-inspired Pina Colada called Gardens of Waimea.
And, indeed, the place was packed. “There’s no better feeling than looking up when you’re in the weeds and seeing the bar two to three people deep with all your friends, coworkers and industry people from around town,” Layden says. “Not to mention that everyone was loving the vibe and drinks.”
While the tiki pop-up was one night only, there’s more where it came from. “Gerry and John are two guys who I look at as the young phenoms of the every-growing Saratoga restaurant and bar industry,” says LaViolette, who orchestrated the evening at Coat Room. “This is not the end of the Pop-Up Trio.”
More scenes from the evening by photographer Zach Skowronek: