Johnny's Gold Brick Heads to Chicago for National "Bar Fight Club" - Houston Food Finder
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Johnny’s Gold Brick Heads to Chicago for National “Bar Fight Club”


The Johnny's Gold Brick crew is in Chicago for Bar Fight Club. Back row from left to right: Benjamin Mason (owner), Rich Bailey (bartender) and Josh Jaramillo (bartender). Front row from left to right: Richard Munive (lead barback), Rebecca Burkart (bartender), Justin Ware (general manager), Garrett Jones (bartender) and Angel Salas (bartender). Photo by Philip Ethridge.

Posted: May 6, 2019 at 7:42 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Johnny’s Gold Brick at 2518 Yale in The Heights, a friendly neighborhood bar known for high quality but no-frills cocktails, is one of six bars competing in Chicago on May 6 for the title of “Bar Fight Club Champion.” Bar Fight Club is the kick-off event for the annual Chicago Style Cocktail Conference. The battle is at Fulton Market Kitchen from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the bars are judged on cocktail creativity, hospitality and sense of community.

Bar Fight Club is a “whole bar competition” and each is given an assigned space in order to bring their bar to life as a pop-up. Johnny’s entire staff is in Chicago and brought both the famous drink chalkboard and lots of branded swag to evoke the flavor of the brick-and-mortar in Houston. There may even be lasers involved.

Johnny’s Gold Brick is facing some stiff competition. The other competing bars are Dave Arnold’s Existing Conditions in New York City (Arnold, a James Beard Award-winning author, was just recently in Houston for a charity pop-up), Good Measure (on its home turf in Chicago), fellow Texas bar Nickel City from Austin, Canadian bar Pretty Ugly from Toronto and True Laurel from San Francisco.

Galveston’s Daiquiri Time Out is bringing a little island flair to Houston on May 6. Photo by Jamie Alvear.

Since the entire bar staff is in Chicago, employees from Daiquiri Time Out in Galveston are holding down the fort on May 6, bringing an island vibe and tiki-inspired cocktails to Houston. The Galveston bar’s owner, Brad Stringer, was formerly an original member of the Johnny’s team and he’s leading the pop-up from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Every Johnny’s Gold Brick bartender either made or collaborated on a drink for the competition. Lucky for Houstonians, traveling to Chicago to try the drinks isn’t necessary. For the month of May, the Bar Fight Club drinks are featured at bar, along with a few extras for a well-balanced menu.

In order to give their Houston patrons a sense of presence at the competition, Johnny’s Gold Brick is streaming a live feed of the competition as well as streaming back a feed of the crowd at Johnny’s to the crew in Chicago.

“We are excited to be representing Houston and the Heights neighborhood,” says general manager Justin Ware. “It’s great publicity and networking for our little bar and the family-style staff. It is humbling to be recognized by your peers and we couldn’t be more excited to bring the vibe of Johnny’s alive in Chicago.”


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