Sweet Seasonal Sippers at LuxbarNovember 21, 2012 By: Alissa Ponchione
Seasons come and go, and as they change so should your cocktail menu, which is something Luxbar’s General Manager, John Damas, knows all too well.
Starting in October, Luxbar began switching out its menu, and the “customers enjoy it,” says Damas. “The seasonality aspect of what we’re trying to do” is appreciated by guests as they are enticed by aromas and tastes of fall and winter. Luxbar’s “autumn-themed menu offerings,” include an apple crisp dessert and fall-inspired cocktails, including a cinnamon fig sidecar, a local apple cider and a pumpkin-spiced cocktail, as well as switching “our beers to brown ales and darker ales,” says Damas.
In-house printed menus and promotions through social media are helping draw crowds to the Chicago bar. The menu consists of five or six drinks; all cocktails are $12. However, changing and updating its menus is nothing new to Luxbar. Damas says they switch out the menu quarterly. “The draft beers typically change along with it, too.”
To come up with a new menu, it takes the bar “about a month,” to formulate the idea and implement it at the bar. “We’ll test recipes. … And we’ll do tastings,” he explains. “Once we’re happy with it, then it takes a week to put it on the menu.” After that, they take to social media to talk about it. Overall, “it takes about a month, which is a lot longer than people assume.”
But these rotating seasonal menus have guests coming back.
“We’ve been doing this now for two years with our cocktail program where we rotate menus. We have a lot of customers come in that will ask for our summer drink,” he says. “They go away for a while,” but they come back for drinks that stay with them.
“In my mind, we’re making drinks people remember,” Damas continues. “That’s how we get people coming back and asking, ‘I had this last time, when can I get it?’”
The secret to Luxbar’s continual success: “We’ve found success by reducing quantity and focusing on quality. We’re committed to local purveyors to supplying great products... by focusing on local ingredients that are executed well. Having twenty drinks was way too much to be consistent. Now we have it streamlined down to five drinks so the team can produce efficiently” which has paid off greatly.