Hey Bartender: A Movie Celebrating the Modern Cocktail Movement Premiers in L.A.

Still from the movie Hey Bartender
Still from the movie Hey Bartender
Courtesy Hey Bartender

Director Douglas Tirola originally set out to make a movie about corner bars, "but it's not the best time in history for the corner bar." So instead he made a movie about what it is the best time in history for: modern cocktail bars and the folks who run them.

Tirola's movie, Hey Bartender, premiered at South By Southwest in March this year, and in the next few weeks will be released in New York and then in Los Angeles. The week-long run of the movie here in L.A. will begin on Friday, June 14, at Sundance Sunset Cinema, and the weekend's shows will feature film festival-style Q & A's with the filmmakers.

When I spoke to Tirola about the reasons behind making the film, he spoke passionately about a moment in time that many people may not even realize is taking place.

"Here's a story that's happening right now and not a lot of people about it. It's a story that has not yet reached the mainstream," said Tirola. "And you always want to know that story -- how did the beat generation happen? How did punk happen? I see this moment in the bartending world as being very much like those moments."

Los Angeles audiences will see some familiar faces in the movie, which shot all over the country in bars, as well as at Tales of the Cocktail, the annual cocktail conference in New Orleans. A number of L.A. bartenders are featured in the film, including The Varnish's Eric Alperin and Matt Biancaniello, who used to work at the Roosevelt Hotel's Library Bar and now spends Wednesday nights behind the bar at Cliff's Edge.

The movie also follows an injured marine who works at NYC bar Employees Only, and has commentary by numerous people in the hospitality world, including famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer. As well as its weeklong run in L.A., the movie will be available on iTunes beginning June 7. Watch the trailer below.

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Related Locations

Sundance Sunset Cinema

8000 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046



The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028



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