Drinking

The Ultimate Cocktail Experience Goes Back to Its Roots With an All-Star Shake-Off This Sunday

The Ultimate Cocktail Experience is one of the best parties of the year.
The Ultimate Cocktail Experience is one of the best parties of the year. Trigger's Toys
For eight years now, the hospitality industry in Dallas and beyond has given us the chance to lose ourselves for a night in support of a great cause.

The Ultimate Cocktail Experience presents five pop-up bars by our favorite bartenders as they battle it out with the support of their teams and bar backs.

Each bar team rolls out a full bar concept: A logo, menu, multiple cocktails, vapes, bites and more take attendees to a new level of a pop-up bar.

Do this math: five pop-up bars, more than 40 cocktails, more than 100 industry volunteers and one really fun night.


The Ultimate Cocktail Experience started with less grand roots as a smaller event dubbed Cocktails for a Cause, but it saw such incredible support that it grew each year to accommodate Dallas' support. The result the past three years has been large-scale events that welcomed the public. But this year they'll be "taking it back to its roots" to bring the event a little closer to home with a slightly scaled-back format, but with none of the fun left out.

Each year, a winner is crowned, and for 2019, the winners will face off in a battle of the titans. Representing the last five years' winning bars, we'll see revived bar concepts from Kyle Hilla (2014, &&&), Zach Smigiel (2015, Zoom Zoom), Andrew Stofko (2016, North America), Nick Grammer (representing the 2017 winner, Ravinder Singh, Cuba), and Megan McClinton and Jason Pollard (2018, Elevate).

click to enlarge The 2016 winning team, North America - TRIGGER'S TOYS
The 2016 winning team, North America
Trigger's Toys
The reason the hospitality industry comes together to throw one of the best parties of the year is to benefit Trigger's Toys, a charity started by local industry powerhouse Bryan Townsend along with his wife, Stacey, in 2009. They aim to "alleviate the financial and emotional stress on sick children," as stated on their website. To date, the charity has raised almost $1 million to benefit local children's charities and families in need.

click to enlarge The Ultimate Cocktail Experience returns Oct. 13. - TRIGGER'S TOYS
The Ultimate Cocktail Experience returns Oct. 13.
Trigger's Toys
This year's Ultimate Cocktail Experience will be Sunday night, promising the same fantastical setup. The past five winning pop-up bars will be there, along with past cocktails and interactive experiences throughout the two-story Harlowe MXM/Trick Pony in Deep Ellum. There will be bars in every nook and cranny of the complex, possibly making it impossible to not enjoy yourself as an attendee.


Ultimate Cocktail Experience, 6-10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13. Tickets: $65.
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Susie Oszustowicz