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Co-Owner Of The Whistler Calls For More Affordable Cocktails

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 27, 2012 5:20PM

Photo by Jen-Marie.

We've been ranting about the arms-race style increase in cocktail prices for years. While we don't mind as much when the drinks are extraordinary, the grey-goose and tonic crowd has used the cocktail movement as an excuse to cash in, and it sucks for serious drinkers. Things seem to have settled out between the $12-$14 mark, with some notable exceptions (Trump, we're looking at you), but there are still too many mediocre expensive drinks out there. That's why we smiled when we read a call by the co-owner of The Whistler, Billy Helmkamp, for more affordable cocktail options.

We have always cited The Whistler's great prices as one of the many reasons for its enduring appeal; getting one of the best cocktails in America (no, really) for $8 is quite a thing. Helmkamp thinks that it's a reason for their success.

"When we opened the Whistler four years ago, we set the bar at $8 per cocktail when most places were charging north of $12. Lo and behold, a lot of people tried cocktails here for the first time! The quality of our drinks and friendliness of our staff had (and has) a lot to do with it, but I think the $8 price tag is key...It’s my hope that other bars will follow suit and start offering more affordable cocktail options, while maintaining a high level of quality."

They've doubled down over the last few months, offering a menu with $5 and $6 cocktails that has apparently been quite successful. We've not been in to try them yet, but when we do, we'll raise our glass to Helmkamp. "I think the “next big thing” is going to be much more basic and long-lasting: affordable cocktails."