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Synchronized bartending competition is double trouble at Deuces - Westword

By Kevin Galaba Thu., Jul. 3 2014 at 12:01 PM

"We bartended together, as one, and it was amazing," says Chad Michael George, who shared the win at Deuces!, a synchronized bartending competition held Tuesday at Star Bar, with Nick Touch. Paired bartenders were tasked with making the same drink -- simultaneously. Four teams fought it out behind the bar, performing hilarious routines set to music, in themed costumes. Each pair was judged on song choice, synchronicity, overall creativity, outfits, and, of course, the taste of their cocktail.

  Haylee Ortiz and Les Baker, bartenders at Sessions Kitchen, ready to synchronize.

Haylee Ortiz and Les Baker, bartenders at Sessions Kitchen, ready to synchronize.

Local Star-tender Represents Denver in National Cocktail Competition - 5280

Ten bartenders from across the country descend on Denver with boozy punch creations.


JUNE 26 2014, 10:30 AM

This is not the spiked punch bowl at your high school prom. On Sunday, June 29, bar brilliance will be on full display as 10 of the country’s best bartenders showcase their skills in the second annual Punch Kings Competition, presented by Cochon 555 andBreckenridge Bourbon.

The event is the culmination of 10 competitions across the country, with more than 50 bartenders participating, each with their own recipe of boozy punch. The large-format cocktail competition gives each bartender 30 minutes to make one bowl of punch using a bottle of Breckenridge Bourbon and their own special ingredients.

“This will be the most notable punch-themed celebration to hit the country since Prohibition was lifted in 1933,” Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555, says.

The champion of Sunday night’s affair wins a trophy, national bragging rights, and a three-day trip to a Cochon barbecue festival of their choosing to feature their winning boozy punch.

The real champions, however, are the lucky Denverites who get to wallow in the spoils of the cocktail battle.

The hometown hero in this fight is Justin Lloyd of Star Bar in the Ballpark neighborhood. Lloyd’s very Colorado concoction blends Breckenridge Bourbon with an oleo saccharum-based mix that highlights the Centennial State’s affinity for spice by using an ancho-chile liqueur. He even gives love to the state’s craft brewing scene by using Durango-based Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi in the whipped cream atop the punch.

“I’m really proud to be representing Denver and the whole state of Colorado, especially with those ingredients,” Lloyd says.

The competition takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Curtis Hotel; food is provided in conjunction with Sage Restaurant Group. Celebrated Denver chefs, including Rich Byers of the Corner OfficeJeff Bolton of KachinaJason Brumm of Second Home, and Jae Lee of the Curtis, will be on-site preparing more than 500 pounds of pig as well as more than 150 pounds of roasted bone marrow provided by Creekstone Farms. General admission tickets are $55 and include access to competition punch and food.

1405 Curtis St., 303-571-0300

Zagat 30 Under 30: Rockstars Redefining the Industry - Zagat Denver


Alexandra Geppert, 29

Bartender, Operations and Marketing at Star Bar

As the creative director for the Colorado Bartenders’ Guild, Alexandra Geppert works to bring specialists from all over the profession into the fold: “Speed bartenders, flair bartenders — we want it to be a source for everybody.” It’s a goal born of experience. When Geppert herself started bartending in college, “I knew how to make a Jägerbomb, basically.” And though she went on to immerse herself in the craft-cocktail scene while working at Root Down — “I knew I was in trouble when I saw more books than bottles behind the bar,” she laughs — she remains committed to the ideal of inclusiveness, which makes her current job at Ballpark’s beloved Star Bar easy. “If you want to hear about every detail of our program, we can bore you to tears. But we’re really just about the guests having fun, taking away from their troubles,” she explains, whether by pouring Brooklyns “for whiskey drinkers that never liked Manhattans” or offering partyers watermelon-chile boozecicles on the back patio. As Star Bar expands, Geppert is taking on an ever-larger role behind the scenes even as she continues to work with the Guild and builds her own marketing company. The extra responsibility doesn’t change her outlook one bit. “I’ve always loved people, talking with them, being social,” she says. “This industry was just a natural fit.”

Star Bar’s Justin Lloyd to Rep Denver in Punch Kings Finale - Industry Denver

The Curtis Hotel – which just underwent a major reinvention with a newly redesigned lobby, event spaces, and guest suites – will host the second annual Punch Kings Finale this Sunday (6/29). Presented by Cochon 555 and Breckenridge Distillery, the national competition will determine which of the top 10 finalists from across the country will be crowned the 2014 Punch King and sent on a 3-day trip to aHeritage BBQ festival in a city of their choosing, where their recipe will be featured.

Among the competition, Denver’s Justin Lloyd (Star Bar) will showcase his winning recipe Howdy Partner!, which most likely went to batch today, given the methodology behind his 3-day punch that features Breckenridge Bourbon, Ancho Chile Liqueur, and an IPA foam. Get more information and tickets to Sunday’s Punch Kings finale here, it all begins at 4:00 pm for VIP admission and 5:00 pm for general admission.

Denver's Best Dive Bars - Thrillist

The Best Night of Your Life is happening December 21st, not just because it's the longest night of the year (science!), but because Thrillist is here to help you fill those extra hours of darkness with the best of everything from happy hours to late-night eats. But you know the night wouldn't be complete without a trip to a dive bar, and Denver has some damn fine ones.

Star Bar - LoDo
A dive bar diamond in the rough among all the large party warehouses in LoDo. In addition to their plethora of Colorado craft beers and tasty 'tails, they offer karaoke on Thursday nights, Skeeball, and an outdoor bar/lounge area equipped with adult slushies. The bartenders are also wayyy more knowledgeable than your average dive bar drink slingers.

Where to Drink This Week - Culinary Connectors

The awards are piling up for one of Denver’s oldest surviving waterholes, the Star Bar. Among its awards as “Editor’s Choice: Top of the Town Best Dive Bar” by 5280 Magazine and “People’s Choice: Best Dive Bar” by Denver Magazine, Star Bar was most recently declared “People’s Choice: Best Karaoke” by Westword Magazine’s Best of Denver 2013. Despite the awards, Star Bar’s divey, unglamorous, simple appearance has helped the Star Bar to remain one of Denver’s best kept secrets.

Just as Star Bar is considered one of Denver’s best-kept secrets, the Star Bar has a tendency to feature some of the hardest to find beers from Colorado and the rest of the U.S., revealing the best kept secret brews to those who are lucky enough to stumble upon the Star Bar. Beyond hard to find beers, Star Bar also has a penchant for hard to find beers in cans. Showcasing 20 of the best beers you will find in cans, Star Bar’s devotion to cans is right in line with its old, classical bar style. Star Bar goes another step further to keep that old nostalgic vibe alive with Classic Cocktails your grandfather probably drank.

If you prefer something novel, Star Bar will mix you up a “Beer Cocktail” made with locally and regionally distilled spirits. Even wine at Star Bar comes locally and keeping with Star’s Bars “canned” motif, in cans! Denver’s beloved winery the Infinite Monkey Theorem makes this canned wine that comes slightly sparkling in the form of a “Back Alley Moscato” and a “Back Alley Rose.”

Since Star Bar is a classic bar, no food is served. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own food like in the olden days. If you forget, you can grab a bite next door at Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza or across the street at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs. Pizza and dogs should provide you with ample fuel for Star Bar’s Battle of the Non-tenders that takes place Thursday nights on the back patio. All non-bartenders are encouraged to enter. Find more details on this Non-tenders Battle here.

Whether you are looking for a chance to enjoy a canned suds like in the olden days, or are looking for a place to showcase your voice skills or maybe even your bartending skills, Star Bar is your secret to a fun and relaxing afternoon or evening. Star Bar makes drinking like the olden days fun and pleasurable, revealing to its patrons the pleasures of canned local happiness one beer or wine can at a time. In this way, Star Bar is Denver’s local dive bar classic that is here to stay.

10 Food Trends to Watch - Huffington Post

Pretty much everyone's been to a bring-your-own-bottle restaurant—but what about a bring-your-own-food bar? Early in 2010, the New York Post spotlighted five BYOF spots in the city, including two that allow patrons to use the house grills. Denver's Star Bar allows patrons to bring their own eats, and Yelp's Chicago edition features a list (albeit brief) of BYOF spots. This trend may just keep growing, since it's a 'win-win for everyone: Bars get to create a restaurant atmosphere without the hassle of a full kitchen, and customers get an affordable, customizable night out.

Epicurious, Huffington Post

Star Bar's Anika Zappe wins Industry Denver's bacon and beer cocktail competition

Last night, following the Denver Bacon and Beer Festival, eight local bartenders -- Ryan Conklin (St. Ellie), Todd Mayville (Asti D' Italia), Stuart Jensen (Green Russell), McLain Hedges (the Proper Pour), Kevin Burke (Colt & Gray), Melissa Durant (Acorn), Holland Rock-Garden (Roosevelt) and Anika Zappe (Star Bar) -- gathered behind the stick at Session Kitchen to compete in Industry Denver's inaugural Denver Bacon Beer Cocktail competition, which included three rounds of battle and way too many cocktails to count. Each bartender was required to use bacon and Fernet in the first round, beer and George Dickel whiskey in round two and bacon, beer, Fernet and Dickel Barrel Select in the final round, which pitted Zappe against Rock-Garden. Zappe was crowned the winner and sauntered away with ten pounds of bacon, while Rock-Garden strutted off with five pounds of bacon. Herewith, the photo highlights.
By Lori Midson Mon.

 Anika making the perfect beer and bacon cocktail for the win!

Anika making the perfect beer and bacon cocktail for the win!

Denver Mixologists Recommend Hidden Gems - Eater Denver

Where are the best hidden gem bars, nice or dingy, in Denver? Eater did some digging and asked 11 bartenders to share the bar they would enjoy a drink at.Melissa Durant from Acorn suggest Barolo Grill for solo drinking and Kade Gianetti from Linger suggest Local 46. Here is a map of the bars you can find bartenders at.



"Star Bar has more talent working than perhaps any place in town," declares Parker Ramey formerly of Trillium but currently a free agent.