Last night The Pourhouse was packed with a legion of bartenders, cocktail fans, a couple of lost souls just looking for dinner and at least one guy who insisted on doing the fishing line dance move enjoyed by parents at weddings the world over. For the last month the Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild has hosted the Iron Bartender competition every Sunday night.
The final competitors were narrowed down to Hola Arepa, La Belle Vie, Marvel Bar and Tattersall Distilling. Each round featured a secret ingredient which a team of two bartenders from each establishment were required to use, each in their own cocktail to present to a panel of judges (a totating mix of food writers, chefs and spirit experts).
Attendees were treated to a cocktail sample from each competing bar (to vote for people's choice) and a portion of the proceeds benefited Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry.
The first heat was Tattersall versus Hola Arepa, with Hola coming out on top. In the battle of past winners, La Belle Vie won over last year's Iron Bartender winners Marvel Bar.
The final battle was Nate Raczkowski and Ryan Barott pouring on behalf of Hola Arepa versus Adam Gorski and Jon Olson of La Belle Vie. The secret ingredient was "green apple drink."
La Belle Vie's employees from past and present came out in force, many waving the bartenders faces affixed to sticks. Meanwhile, Heather Kim, Hola's pastry chef was frantically live texting the event to Hola's owners (and newlyweds) Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem who were traveling Sunday night.
In the end, the competition was fierce, but the La Belle Vie team won the over-all trophy and a solid year of bragging rights.