The trouble with finding your local watering hole is that once found, you will rarely leave it. We’re all guilty of falling into a favorite bar rut – and while it’s great to have a favorite, it is nice to be able to recommend more than one place to a visiting friend or relative. If you’ve become a bit of a homebody of a drinker, whether that means sticking to one bar or one neighborhood, The Good Passport will give you the excuse you need to explore again.
The Good Passport has a simple yet attractive pitch – for $30 you’ll get between 10-15 drinks at different bars in one neighborhood or city. You can make a day of it, or take a couple months to explore them all because these passports generally run for a three-month span.
Each passport is themed so that you can find yourself spending a day taste-testing Cognac, sipping on Whiskeys, or even experimenting with Ginger Liqueur based cocktails. You don’t need to worry about quality, as an end of passport survey leaves each bar attempting to outdo the other in a frenzy of skilled bartending.
I’ve explored Manhattan during the 2017 Good Beer Passport, and found myself in neighborhoods I’d never been to, at bars I would never have noticed, drinking beers I never would have ordered. As someone that hesitates to expand his horizons, it was some of the most fun I’ve had without ordering a staple beer of mine.
This spring’s Astoria Ginger Liqueur themed passport was no less successful with 13 competing bars basing cocktails around Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur. Traipsing around Astoria for the first time I discovered a neighborhood jam-packed with great bars and great drinks to return to.
The Queen’s Room delivered a classy “Afternoon Tea” using cinnamon and cream along with the ginger to give an almost pumpkin-y flavor. Next door Flattops took a different tactic, giving us a Hawaiian looking “Stomi Daniels” (yes with an “I”), along with arcade games and flashy lights. The Astorian followed with an Intense Barrows Old Fashioned that packed quite the punch.
Each place brings its own drinks, atmosphere, and friendly bartenders, none of which you’d find sticking to your own small watering hole. What makes these events worthwhile and consistently getting better is the time customers take with the surveys and the importance Good Passports places on the results. Each event’s results are posted publicly showing how many people found bars they’d never been to, how many went back, and most importantly: a ranking of their favorite places on the list. It’s this spirit of competition between the bars that keeps the event fun, and keeps participators coming back well after their Passport expired.