When The Cocktails For Humanity Bar Pops Up During Art Walk, You Can Drink—Or Pour—For A Good Cause
This story was updated on Aug. 26 at 6:15 p.m.
Next time you want to grab a drink during Art Walk, consider a craft cocktail poured by volunteer bartenders who are looking to help out while having a great time.
Cocktails for Humanity, the monthly pop-up bar for a good cause, has raised close to $5,000 for Fort Lauderdale charities since starting up in May. It takes place at the General Provision co-working space the last Saturday of the month during FAT Village’s Art Walk, and the next installment is Saturday, Aug. 29, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
This time, Cocktails for Humanity volunteers will be in two locations: not only General Provision but also the offices of landscape architects Cadence. All proceeds, including tips, benefit a nonprofit.
Organizers Jill and Eric Barton came up with the idea in February after attending Andy’s Family Pasta Dinner, which has raised more than $500,000 for LifeNet 4 Families, an organization that works with the homeless and hungry of Broward, through annual family-style pasta feasts.
“We left that thinking, ‘This is just making a huge impact on the community. We love to cook, we love to entertain—how can we do something like it?’” said Jill Barton, who is a law professor at the University of Miami.
They first considered throwing a dinner at their own home, but ultimately decided that General Provision, which attracts visitors to its art show during Art Walk, was the right outlet.
The demand for their cocktails has been so high that the first couple of times, the bar would run out of supplies before the night was over.
“We had no idea how much we would sell,” Jill Barton said.
After raising $1,200 for Jack & Jill Children’s Center their first go-round, Cocktails for Humanity raised another $3,500 over the next two Art Walks, which benefited HANDY in support of at-risk youth. The nonprofit community’s response has been so great that Cocktails for Humanity has charities lined up through June 2016, according to Jill Barton.
The volunteers, who work in shifts, have been equally eager. They learn how to prepare cocktails—usually three or four offered that night—during a quick orientation and then begin the pours from there.
“The bartenders on the first shift didn’t want to leave,” Jill Barton said.
For Saturday’s pop-up, Eric Barton, a freelance writer based in Fort Lauderdale, has been aging a batch of old fashioned in oak chips for the past couple of weeks. Using chips is faster and cheaper than an oak barrel, he explained.
"I've been brewing ciders at home for a few months now, and recently I made a batch aged with the oak chips," he said. "It gives the drink a bit of an oak flavor, but more than anything it really mellows out the flavors and makes everything so much more smooth."
The bar also plans to serve other mixed drinks, such as Moscow mules and the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, according to Jill Barton.
Proceeds will go toward The Mockingbird Trail, a project to promote walkability in downtown Fort Lauderdale by developing an urban art trail.
The goal is for Cocktails for Humanity to happen at every Art Walk, according to Jill Barton, but it doesn’t have to end there.
“We’d love to figure out ways to expand this even more, take it to other venues,” she said.
Disclosure: Eric Barton freelances for Gulfstream Media Group, the parent company of Gold Coast's Fort Lauderdale Daily.