Macchialina's had a lot to celebrate lately. After recently acquiring their liquor license, Mike Pirolo and Jen Chaefsky launched a new monthly dim sum style brunch and bottomless booze brunch option. Now, William Rivas is behind the bar creating progressive farm-to-table inspired cocktails to match Macchialina's earthy and unpretentious flair.
Taking full advantage of their liquor license and newly appointed mixologist, Macchialina has also launched a bar takeover series, in which a guest bartender comes in late night and picks a theme for the night, while Michael Pirolo creates dishes that complement the drinks. This month is the second installment of the takeover, which gets going tomorrow from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The theme? A Night at the Jersey Shore. The bartender? Lure's Rob Ferrara.
Rivas has worked the bars of Mesa Grill, Gotham Steak, Khong River House, and most recently 1826 Restaurant & Lounge. He brings 13 years of drinking and mixing experience to Macchialina. He'll be working hand on hand with Rob to make the evening fun and interactive. Food and drinks will be offered a la carte, with food ranging between $5-$8 and cocktails all $10. Keeping true to the Jersey Shore theme, expect takes on clams casino, funnel cakes, and sausage & peppers -- the kind of dishes you'd munch on during a stroll on the boardwalk.
New Times: Why did you decide to do a monthly bar takeover series? Is this your way of celebrating your new liquor license?
Mike Pirolo: We decided on doing the bar takeover series because we felt it would be something innovative and different. There have been quite a few chef collaborations but it's not too often you see chefs and bartenders coming together to create an all new experience -- and especially one that completely deviates from what we each do in our own restaurant and bar. It's been a great outlet to meet with talented bartenders and bounce ideas and concepts off one another.
As far as it being a way to celebrate our new liquor license, it may have started that way but now it's just an excuse to have our friends and guests join us for a great party. We hope it will be going on for awhile...there is a lot of talent in this city and we are as curious as you to see what they will come up with.
This is the second month in the series. The first with USBG President Michael Parish. Tell us how that went and what you learned that you're applying to the next installment?
The bar takeover with Parish was awesome; he really set the bar for the next one (pun intended). He brought three different kinds of ice, his own glassware, etc -- and I created a menu of grilled street food to pair. It was a late night, but we learned to expect the unexpected and never try to out-drink a bartender.
What's your criteria for picking who's taking over the bar, specifically Rob Ferrara, and how will they work with newly appointed bartender Will Rivas?
We don't have set criteria, we are just looking to team up with Miami bartenders who are creative and talented, and allow them a vehicle to show their skills. We've always been big fans of Rob and sit at his bar at Lure often, so asking him to host one was an easy decision.
You're allowing the bartenders to pick the theme for the night. Why not pick it yourself?
The whole idea for the takeover is: If you opened your own bar, what would it be? If we picked the theme it wouldn't be as inspiring for them. It's their bar for one night, it's their time to shine.
How do you feel about Jersey Shore theme?
I love the Jersey Shore boardwalk theme. The TV show gave the shore a bad rap...Um, maybe it didn't.... Either way we know it will still be a good time.
What's your thought process for creating a menu to match the drinks? What can we expect?
This is our second takeover and coming up with the menu has been relatively easy both times. I met with Rob beforehand and just had fun with it once I heard the direction of the cocktails. Expect boardwalk favorites with a slight twist...
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Why not do it on a Friday since it goes through 2 a.m.?
As far as holding it on a Thursday, it's Miami. We have 24-hour clubs, after all. I think people go out all night every night here -- and just because it ends at 2 am it doesn't mean our guests have to stay until the morning hours, but I do think it will be hard for them to leave once they get here.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha