Joe Miller (Joe's, Bar Pintxo) and John Sedlar (Rivera), who have been friends for some time, must be logging some after-hours good times at their respective restaurants, or somewhere, because the two Los Angeles chefs have collaborated not on a dish or a drink, but on the idea for a competition. Miller will host the first installment of 'Raising the Bar,' a mixology competition, next Sunday night, October 11, at his Abbot Kinney restaurant. And in the following months, bartenders from Rivera and each of 4 other Los Angeles restaurants will compete in a Mix-Off. It's a “friendly competition to build awareness of the great bars in our LA restaurants, and ultimately to have fun,” says Miller.

Following the first event at Joe's, the competition will move to comme Ça, in November, and then to Church & State, Providence, BOA and of course Rivera (order and times to be announced). Judging the competition will be Sophie Gayot of the Gayot Guide, the owners of the competing restaurants and Betty Hallock of the LA Times.

As part of the contest, bartenders will be required to mix 3 rounds of drinks; each restaurant will feature a particular form of booze. Joe's bartender S. Hector Bury and his competitors will be using rum. Next Sunday's event also coincides with A Taste of Abbot Kinney, which runs from 2-7 p.m., so you have somewhere to cool your heels, watch a show and throw back some free-style rum combo after you walk all over Venice.

The competition is free, although you'll have to shell out for the cocktails. For reservations, call (310) 392-5655.

Joe's Restaurant: 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 399-5811.

LA Weekly