Booze! Charity! Bartenders! Make a Date for Vancouver’s Barate Kid Grand Final

Barate2If you like fun boozy charity fundraisers, then make a note in your diary for Monday 26th October when BC’s biggest bartender contest reaches its last lap at Republic on Granville Street with the grand finale of the Barate Kid Bartending Tournament. Running since March with seven qualifying events across Vancouver, Kelowna and Victoria, Barate has the largest cash prize of any contest of its kind in Canada and is a serious test of bartenders’ speed, skill and drinksmanship. We spoke with Gez McAlpine of the Keefer Bar, co-organiser of the event to find out more.

“This is the fourth year that we’ve run the Barate Kid and this year is definitely the biggest so far. Initially we had an invite-only event but it took off and so many wanted to be involved we opened it up to all-comers. Unlike most other bartending contests, this is a lot of fun for the audience too: you won’t find people chatting in hushed voices about bespoke ingredients here, this is all about bartenders competing head to head to make classic cocktails as fast as they can. You don’t even need to wait to see who wins each heat as it’s a tournament-style event with a ‘sudden death’ outcome. Instant gratification!”

barate3The contest is broken down into four different stages: beforehand each bartender is given a list of 70 classic cocktails which they need to be able to make. The idea is to recreate real life bar conditions where bartenders have to make multiple drinks at speed. The first round lasts three minutes and they need to make three drinks, the next is five drinks in five minutes, the third round is even harder with six drinks in six minutes and the grand final takes in seven drinks in eight minutes. If that’s not hard enough, then bonus drinks can be ordered too – just like in a regular bar situation. Bartenders are judged on speed, style and how good the drinks are.

All the drinks made in the contest are sold off for the Aprons for Gloves charity (usually between $5-$10), which goes towards helping the Eastside Boxing Club, a not-for-profit gym located in the heart of Chinatown in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which offers free exercise programs for at risk youth and women that have been exposed to violence. The entry donations on the door will also go straight to the charity.

barate1“We’ve got 16 of the fastest, most exciting bartenders from BC competing. Everyone’s earned their place and they all want it really bad – $5K is no small chunk of cheese! It’s a really fun night, we were inspired by the movie the Karate Kid, so it’s that ‘sudden death’ martial arts vibe: people wear costumes, the DJ plays 80s rock and roll, it’s always really fun and energetic. We’ve been filming the whole thing and it looks like it’s being picked up by a TV show.”

So come down, raise some money for a great cause, watch BC’s best bartenders go head to head (and hopefully get on TV too!)

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