Cocktails & Spirits

What Does Generator's Purchase of Freehand Mean for Broken Shaker's Future? UPDATED

Update: According to a spokesperson for Generator, Bar Lab will continue to run all of Freehand's food and beverage concepts across all locations, including Broken Shaker.

Generator, the London-based upscale hostel chain, has announced it has purchased all four Freehand hotel locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami Beach. The purchase includes all of its food and beverages operations — namely, the beloved and lauded Broken Shaker and 27 Restaurant & Bar.

The $400 million transaction was led by the London-based firm Queensgate Investments, which owns Generator. This acquisition means the two leaders in upscale hostels have now merged, with Generator operating a total of 18 properties. Generator owns properties in Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Venice, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rome, Madrid, and Miami Beach. A Washington, D.C. location is in the works. Generator Miami resides only blocks from the Freehand Miami location in Mid-Beach.

The big question is, of course, what will happen to Broken Shaker?

According to a media release, there are no plans for immediate changes or rebranding of the Freehand or Broken Shaker. "With Freehand’s strong brand identity and overwhelmingly positive reputation in the U.S., the addition of their hotels to the Generator portfolio is a natural fit for us. Not only is this acquisition of great strategic importance to our Company, it will also allow both brands to reach new audiences and serve guests in new and unique ways,” Alastair Thomann, CEO of Generator, said in a statement.

For now, the two properties will work in tandem. There are no plans to change menus, or personnel at the Freehand and Broken Shaker. Bar Lab will continue to run all of Freehand's food and beverage operations, including Broken Shaker. Generator will be investing in room and infrastructure upgrades at select Freehand locations, including Miami.

Broken Shaker began its life as a pop-up dreamt up by Bar Lab cofounders Elad Zvi and Gabe Orta. The little bar quickly gained a reputation as the place to go for innovative cocktails after celebrity chefs such as Anthony Bourdain gave it almost immediate street cred. Broken Shaker has gone on to win several awards, including the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards for Best American Hotel Bar in 2015 and 2018. It's been ranked one of the World's 50 Best Bars — in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 — and was a two-time semifinalist for a James Beard Award.

Zvi and Orta recently sold their interests in the Upper Eastside bar the Anderson and plan to open Margot Natural Wine & Aperitivo Bar before year's end.

Freehand Miami. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727;
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss