The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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16 / the tasting panel / february 2014 Brief Encounters Whether THE TASTING PANEL goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most influential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy —Meridith May, Publisher & Executive Editor THE MESSAGE T he historical landmark- turned–coolest bar in Ventura, CA is The Tavern, which is "friendly . . . not a speakeasy hideaway," insists outgoing General Manager Curtis Midstockke, whose drinks program offers approachable prices: All mixed drinks are $11. The whisk(e)y-centric focus is geared to small craft produc- tion spirits and recipes, and drawings of the drinks line the back wall. The interior remains in 19th-century darkness. "We can't remodel because of the historical landmark regula- tions," Midstockke says. "We can't move doors, walls, but we are also fortunate that we don't have to abide by some of the 21st-century bureau- cratic rules." With enough space for two bars outdoor, two inside, a ireplace room and a series of nooks and crannies, a crowd keeps this house busy every night. "We can it up to 800 people and often do," Midstockke explains. The Tavern was the irst craft bar in Ventura and has inluenced the growth of its downtown competitors. "We were the irst to get rid of the 'norm.' We attract custom- ers from 21 to 60 years old. Everyone hangs out and has a good time." ─Meridith May Making More Than History Curtis Midstockke is GM for The Tavern, a 1912 Victorian mansion-turned-bar, in Ventura, CA. The Banana Boat is the top-selling drink at The Tavern. It contains one muddled banana, 1½ ounces of whiskey, amaretto and grape- fruit juice. 16 / the tasting panel / february 2014 PHOTO: ROB BROWN PHOTO: ROB BROWN

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