Booze hounds from every nook and cranny of NYC came out to the New York Public Library for the 2013 Manhattan Cocktail Classic opening night gala. Ever an epic celebration! Guests roamed around the 4 floors of the library, every turn a surprise encounter with a new cocktail, tasty bites, and fantastic outfits.
VIP guests were allowed to enter at 9:00 pm, 1 hour earlier than general admission ticket holders. At precisely 8:58 pm, the band started playing in full swing, and everyone eagerly waited to check-in and get their drink on. Upon walking in, guests were greeted by giant stilt walkers who sashayed their way into the main entrance.
Liquor companies of all types made an appearance and crafted all of their best cocktails: Atsby Vermouth, Campari, Brooklyn Gin, Owney’s Rum, New Amsterdam Spirits, Appleton, and Due North Rum were just a few of the many, many brands that we encountered throughout the night. Friendly (and attractive) bartenders at each station really shook things up!
The amount of detail going into the event is staggering, given how large the library is and how many guests needed to be accounted for. Hanging over the arches on the main floor were hundreds of gold origami birds dangling from the high ceilings.
The food was displayed elegantly and was accessible, and – most importantly – replenished often so that each of our grabby hands was not left hungry. Our all-time favorite was the shrimp cocktail station with a multitude of dipping sauces. For dessert, we loved Steve’s Ice Cream where we scarfed down the salty caramel and pina colada.
Women dresssed up in their best flapper attire were centered in the middle of a table and floated around the hallways with chocolates to pass out. In one crevice on the second floor, a woman posed as a statue with running water pouring from her spout. Guests stopped to take pictures and inch forward to see if she was made of stone or not, and the only real way to tell was when she moved every few minutes to change poses.
Downstairs in the main ballroom space, Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra set the stage for a 20s speakeasy-style dance party where guests were ready to kick up their heels. The only time that people took a break was to lend the dance floor to the Dreamland Follies, who put on a whimsical performance with flashy costumes.
The Manhattan Cocktail Classic gala is always a great time induging in delicious cocktails, food, and working it off with a little bit of dancing. We already can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year!
Photos by Gabi Porter, Filip Wolak, Virginia Rollison for Manhattan Cocktail Classic, and by Socially Superlative