Tales of the Cocktail was born at the bar, and the New Orleans-based organization has since held its events in drinking establishments around the world.
Soon, Tales of the Cocktail have its own bar in downtown New Orleans.
The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, the nonprofit behind the multifaceted group, will take over the current home of Pigeon & Prince, an events hall at 129 Camp St. in the CBD.
This new venue will be called Storyteller x Tales (say it aloud as “Storyteller by Tales”). Across its four floors, it will have room for private events, classes and other gatherings. On the ground floor, the group will develop a full service bar, called Tales of the Cocktail Bar.
The foundation will begin leasing the property Jan. 1. The Tales of the Cocktail Bar is slated to open in the months to come.
The news comes near the end of a year that has been transformational for the local organization, which is best known for the namesake drinks industry conference it holds in New Orleans each summer.
Earlier in 2018, Tales of the Cocktail took on new leadership and was restructured as a nonprofit with a grants-making program and an aim to become a leader in issues running across the spirits business and hospitality world.
In a statement, foundation co-chair Gary Solomon Jr. framed Storyteller x Tales as a physical manifestation of that calling.
“This initiative is going to significantly expand the footprint of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation,” Solomon said. “Historically, the organization was able to reach this audience of both industry and enthusiasts alike a few weeks a year, and now, we’ll be able to further the Foundation’s efforts to educate, advance, and support the community 365 days a year, on a broader scale.”
Storyteller x Tales will serve as the headquarters for the Tales of the Cocktail organization, which since 2016 has been based in an office in Arabi.
The property, at the corner of Camp and Common streets, is a historic building that was long out of commerce until it was redeveloped in 2009 as an ambitious restaurant called Le Foret. In 2016, the local company now called BRG Hospitality (then called Besh Restaurant Group) turned it into the Pigeon & Prince for private events. The restaurant company, which did not own the building, will no longer be involved with the property when the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation takes it over in January.
Solomon, founder of the Solomon Group production company, partnered with local bar proprietor Neal Bodenheimer to take over Tales of the Cocktail from founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman earlier in 2018. Solomon's family, which is prominent in local civic and philanthropic circles, supported the move.
It affirmed Tales of the Cocktail's future in New Orleans after a shakeup led to the Tuennermans' departure last year. It also recast the event as a fundraiser to support causes within the hospitality industry. To begin, this year the foundation awarded $250,000 in community grants for programs around the country that take aim at issues like diversity, abuse and sustainability in the business.
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Early on in the change, Tales leaders said they wanted to find new ways to convene the professional spirits and hospitality community, and stretch the group's networking and career development potential beyond the summer conference.
Storyteller x Tales will give these events a homebase, with the first in a planned series now slated for February.
“Focusing on year-round programming as a vehicle for creating opportunity is such a natural extension of the Tales of the Cocktail brand,” foundation executive director Caroline Rosen said in a statement. “One way we plan to approach this is by curating special events that attract national and international talent to New Orleans, bringing global perspective and insights into our community to engage, uplift, and inspire.”
When the Tales of the Cocktail Bar opens in 2019, it will be open daily for drinks and also serve as another showcase for local and visiting professionals in the spirits business. Bodenheimer, whose first bar Cure won the James Beard Award for outstanding bar program in 2018, described the forthcoming bar as both paying reverence to classic drinks and embracing evolution and progress.
“Tales of the Cocktail, by design, strives to connect people who are passionate about cocktails,” Bodenheimer said in a statement. “We wanted to take that a step further and create a space where the New Orleans community and visitors alike could convene over well-made drinks year-round. Tales of the Cocktail Bar will offer a platform for local, national and international bar talent and a home for all people who love cocktails.
The group’s main event, the Tales of the Cocktail conference, is scheduled for July 16-21 in New Orleans for 2019.
Storyteller x Tales and Tales of the Cocktail Bar
129 Camp St., slated to open in 2019 (date TBD)
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