Cocktail Events to Support Out-of-Work Bartenders Pop Up at Houston Restaurants

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Houston bars have faced temporary closures and staff have lost their livelihoods. To help offset some of the financial repercussions and give bartenders a venue to showcase their craft, chef and owner Chris Williams of Lucille’s at 5512 La Branch launched Lucille’s 1913 Pop-up Program. During each pop-up, the guest bartenders create and sell their own cocktail creations. In addition to all sales and tips going to the bartenders, an extra dollar donation is generated for a new nonprofit organization that Williams is growing to help local farmers and vendors. Participating bars are announced on Lucille’s Instagram account the Tuesday before the Thursday event.

The first bartender pop-up took place on the patio of Lucille’s in July and has now settled in as a weekly series happening every Thursday. Now, other restaurants are joining the cause. One Fifth Mediterranean at 1658 Westheimer is a new program partner, hosting its own pop-ups on Wednesdays starting on September 2 from 4 to 11 p.m.

social distancing tent at One Fifth
The special, socially distanced dining tent at One Fifth, a collaboration with Tellepsen Landscaping. Photo by Sandra Crittenden.

“We’re heartbroken for our friends in the bar community,” said chef and owner Chris Shepherd. “They need our support more than ever, and I can’t wait to have them behind the bar at One Fifth. I love what Chris Williams is doing, and we’re so honored to be a part of this program.” The series at One Fifth is sponsored by Lexus, Beam Suntory and Highway Vodka. Guest bartenders are serving a special menu of three or four handcrafted cocktails in the dining room and on the patio, and the restaurant is also providing beer and wine.

The lineup kicks off this week with the staff of Eight Row Flint behind the bar and goes for the rest of the month as follows:

Reservations with table service are required and can be made online. One Fifth will be maintaining all state social distancing guidelines during the pop-ups.

If your restaurant is interested in participating in the program, email Lucille’s 1913 program.

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