A Letter from Zahra Bates

The following letter is a guest post by Zahra Bates, bar manager at Providence and co-founder of Art Beyond the Glass. Following Zahra’s post is a set of some of her favorite ABTG photos, taken by Eugene Lee (Big Bar), Tatsu Oiye (A-Frame) and yours truly.

Marcos Tello - Sporting Life at Sadie

Marcos Tello at Sporting Life. | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

By Zahra Bates

When I think about what “Art Beyond the Glass” means to me, I can only say community. I am so very lucky to be involved in the LA cocktail community and my biggest hope for the event was that we could celebrate this community properly.

LA is unique in many ways, but for me Sporting Life is what has set us apart from most other cocktail communities. This is why we wanted ABTG to be an extension of our monthly meeting. Sporting Life has given us an opportunity to get together, share information and support one another in our endeavors for four years. Most important in our endeavors is the inclusiveness of our community; bartenders, barbacks, writers, media and anyone who loves a well-made drink and a damn good time.

This love and support that we channel into each other has also been an inspiration to me personally, and my friends from out of town can rarely have a conversation with me without me waxing lyrical about what is happening in our fair city. We show up for each other, we push each other to do better and we share everything without fear or jealousy. There is the understanding that there is room for all of us; like every art form there are millions of different ways of expressing the same thing, and if one of us does well it means we all do well. This is not something that can be taught but must be experienced.

People are always giving seminars on what drinks are good or bad, what the trends in the industry are and why we are right and you are wrong. There are articles being written about what bartenders are lacking today and why you should be ashamed to be a mixologist. While some of this conversation is important, some of it is counterproductive and divisive when it could be creative and show a concrete example of why we do this thing called service. I am going to take a stand here and say we do it for love.

We love this life, this world and the possibility of expression that it allows. We love what we put in the glass and give to our guests, but more than that we love the person that sits before us. To be clear, I am in love with what we do together, I am in love with how we do it, and I am in love with the unintended outcome of what we do.

Yes, this is a love letter to my city, to the people I work with and my community at large. I have never experienced such joy, such beauty or such love all in one day, all in one room and all for one thing. Art; in and beyond the glass is the celebration of…well, of everything.

Following are some of Zahra’s favorite ABTG photos, as well as her comments (in bold).

“I love this, calm before the murder on the dance floor, Fernet then dancing.”

Dave Fernie - Art Beyond the Glass

Dave Fernie | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Brian Butler & Dave Fernie - Art Beyond the Glass

Brian Butler and Dave Fernie | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Dancing at Art Beyond the Glass

Once again, Fernet works its wonders. | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Silamith Weir - Art Beyond the Glass

Silamith Weir | Photo by Eugene Lee

“The love, the love and the love; see words.”

Mia Sarazen & Matt Biancaniello - Art Beyond the Glass

Mia Sarazen and Matt Biancaniello | Photo by Eugene Lee

Daniel Djang, Josh Lucas & Steve Livigni - Art Beyond the Glass

L to R: Yours truly, Josh Lucas and Steve Livigni. | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Jaymee Mandeville & Cari Hah - Art Beyond the Glass

L to R: Jaymee Mandeville and Cari Hah. | Photo by Eugene Lee

Diana Gettinger & Rosie Ruiz - Art Beyond the Glass

L to R: Diana Gettinger and Rosie Ruiz. | Photo by Eugene Lee

Brent Falco - Art Beyond the Glass

Brent Falco | Photo by Eugene Lee

Rock stars at Art Beyond the Glass

L to R: Kylee Van Dillen, Tatsu Oiye, Scott Haro, Julian Cox and Silamith Weir. | Photo courtesy Tatsu Oiye

Mia Sarazen & Lindsay Nader - Art Beyond the Glass

Mia Sarazen and Lindsay Nader | Photo by Eugene Lee

Corye Goodman, Erika Dang, Brian Butler & Justin Pike - Art Beyond the Glass

L to R: Corye Goodman, Erika Dang, Brian Butler and Justin Pike. | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Mia Sarazen & Rich Andreoli - Art Beyond the Glass

Mia Sarazen and Rich Andreoli | Photo by Eugene Lee

Giovanni Martinez - Art Beyond the Glass

Giovanni Martinez | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

“The Support

Templeton Rye - Art Beyond the Glass

Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Alex Straus - Art Beyond the Glass

Alex Straus | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

Mia Sarazen & Sailor Jerry - Art Beyond the Glass

Mia Sarazen

Edwin Cruz & Del Maguey - Art Beyond the Glass

Edwin Cruz

Brent Falco & Campari - Art Beyond the Glass

Brent Falco | Photo by Eugene Lee

Andie Ferman & St. George Spirits -  Art Beyond the Glass

Andie Ferman of St. George Spirits | Photo by Tatsu Oiye

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  1. Rachel Furman on July 3, 2012 at 3:19 am

    I feel your love Zahra and throw it right back atcha!

  2. […] A Letter from Zahra Bates […]

  3. […] Read more recaps of the event at Thirsty in LA. If the event ever goes on tour, you better believe I’ll do whatever I can to help a Boston version  be as big of a success. I’d like to close with an excerpt from an open letter Zahra Bates posted on Thirsty in LA: […]

  4. Edwin Cruz on July 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Man, I’m looking serious! that must of been before I started hitting the Mezcal. Ha.

  5. Art Beyond the Glass Recap « LA Cocktails on August 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    […] ago but it was one of the most exciting cocktail events LA’s seen in a while. Conceived by bartender Zahra Bates of Providence and Daniel Djang of the cocktail blog, Thirsty in […]

  6. Terry on August 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I would like to get Zahra’s recipes for edible cocktails
    Bloody mary tomatoes. Old fashion and any other edible cocktails that she has done I am a fan but I live in Maryland and not able to vist thevestabihnents where she does her fantastic mixoligist work
    please send as soon as possible