Five ways bartenders are changing the world

26th November, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers



Coup closed in September 2017

Today’s politically fraught environment has led to the rise of the so-­called ‘philanthropub’. Following the US election, Death & Co founder Ravi DeRossi said there was “a lot of unrest and despair” in New York City. This led him to open Coup, a bar that donated a portion of its profits to organisations under threat from the current Trump administration.

“The idea came from taking this anger we all had and turning it into something more positive and productive,” he says. DeRossi took inspiration from Houston bar OKRA Charity Saloon, which opened in 2013. All of OKRA’s profits go to local non­-profit organisations or social causes.

DeRossi explains: “I think everybody felt this sort of unease, this tension with the election, and wasn’t sure what to do, and wanted to do something but didn’t know how. So we gave everybody a place where if they’re gonna go out drinking anyway, they might as well come to us and a portion of the money they spend is going to a good cause.

“Everybody calls it ‘the anti-­Trump bar’, but it really is just a charity bar. The idea behind it is to just find organisations we want to give money to.”

However, Coup closed in September 2017. “We were not a legal not­-for-­profit, so we still had to pay our taxes. We couldn’t get people to volunteer their time legally and we couldn’t legally receive stuff that was donated. We realised we were essentially giving more money to the government than we were donating to organisations.”

Now DeRossi and the team will turn Coup into its own non-­profit organisation that will pop up at cocktail bars across the US. “We’re in the process of setting up; we just haven’t got it [legal non­-profit status] approved yet.”

If it does gain approval, DeRossi’s plan is to “take it on the road. It’s really to reach out to all the people that reached out to us and just run it, as long as whoever is offering these spaces want us there, and as long as people are coming and spending money there, so we can keep going and donate”.

One Response to “Five ways bartenders are changing the world”

  1. Hello Nicola,
    Thank you for this article. For so many years there has been a stigma associated with bartending responsibly. Alcohol promotes many behavior changes. First inhibitions are lowered. We over serve our customers and they become vulnerable to suggestions and sadly, predators. The creativity, attention to detail and rise of the activist bartender is refreshing. However, the conflict with management directives to ring up the cash register for the almighty dollar grab may interfere. I hope not.

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