The Bar Belle: Late Seating shenanigans

May 20, 2008 at 4:48 pm

I was asked to be a judge for an Iron Bartending competition last Friday at Actors Theatre’s Late Seating series. Basically, it’s an outlet for theater groupies and anyone looking for something different to do in the p.m. that features new work by local artists in performance, music and visual art. It takes place about every two months (check out; Friday’s show featured the talented and funny members of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble.

OK, back to me now. I’m not sure how qualified I am to judge a bartending competition, but I do drink a lot and do enjoy drinking for free — so of course I said yes to the offer. My fellow judges were Scott Shuffit, a hilarious dude and one of the founders of the Lebowski Fest, and Tamara Ikenberg, a pop culture writer at The C-J. Our job was to rate three drinks by four bartenders (that makes 12 drinks, if you’re doing the math!) — Ken Pyle of The Rudyard Kipling, Jeni Pittman of Proof, Daniel Duncan of the Nachbar and rookies Sean Daniels and Brian Lillienthal of Actors Theatre who filled a last-minute no-show. The only stipulation was that each drink be made with grapefruit juice.

I must admit that as the judging went on, my scoring and comments became less coherent. I mean, 12 drinks!

Come on. They were delicious, being that they were free and all. But in the end, it was Jeni from Proof who we agreed made the tastiest summer drinks — the only one I can recall being some sort of mojito infused with grapefruit juice. After I deemed one of Sean and Brian’s concoctions “unacceptable” for reasons that escape me now, they titled their next creation “Sara’s No-Safe-Haven,” which I rightfully awarded all five points to.

So there you have it. Proof has great drinks. Actors Theatre’s Late Seating is worth checking out. And I can easily be bribed. All in a night’s work.

Check out Sara’s daily reasons to drink at