We’ve all heard about green eating and green building, but what about green drinking? Judging from the number of eco-friendly spirits and mixers out there now, it’s catching on. And if you’re a nightclub that is up to date on the trend, how can patrons looking to support eco-friendly bars and clubs find you? Noticing the need to promote green venues, Dave Blue, a DJ, entrepreneur and nightclub aficionado, started up www.ecoDrinking.com in May, a directory of environmentally friendly establishments. What started out with 24 listings has grown to include San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, plus a few overseas. Blue plans to expand his coverage even further this year.
Chicago, especially, has seen an increase in environmentally friendly drinking and dining. Chefs have led the restaurant industry with a close-to-home, locavore and sustainable movement for the past few years, but the green bar and nightclub scene is just beginning to take shape, with at least 10 bars and clubs recently announcing more eco-friendly business practices. In the Windy City alone, Sable Kitchen & Bar in the new Hotel Palomar, Karyn’s on Green, Encore Club & Liquid Lounge, Elate (in the new Hotel Felix) and Lumen, a 3-year-old club in the meatpacking district, are just a handful of green-drinking spots with new listings up on Blue’s site.
Also of note in Chicago, Blue says, is the level of sustainability effort by Uncommon Ground, a restaurant and bar that is currently “tied” in points with a Portland pub as having the most “'green cred” (24 distinct points). Blue says he generally doesn’t like to rank bars and clubs in terms on how green they are because not all “cred” points are equal (for example: recycling versus solar panels count for different things), but Uncommon Ground stands out among the more eco-friendly drinking spots across the country.
This says a lot for Chicago, whose bar and nightclub scene has been off to a slower start when it comes to greenness, especially compared to the West and Pacific Northwest.
“I've long been interested in finding better ways to deliver green nightlife/entertainment information to people,” says Blue, whose original plan was to sell biodegradable/compostable cocktail stir sticks but instead launched ecoDrinking to fill the void. “The environmental challenges we face will obviously require much more than simply drinking organic vodka or patronizing bars with a composting program. But in addition to highlighting the specific efforts by bars to go green, I hope that ecoDrinking will convey that there’s no part of society that can’t meaningfully contribute to a more sustainable world. And of course, tell people where they can get a cocktail made from the finest local or small-batch spirits.”
Want to get on Blue’s green list? Contact Blue at [email protected].