NEW YORK >> Something came over Ravi DeRossi in early November.
“For the few weeks after the election, I couldn’t get out of bed,” he said. “It was all I could do to read the news.”
So, to snap himself out of it, he did what he does best: open a bar.
DeRossi, 42, is the owner or co-owner of several hip cocktail bars in New York City, including Amor y Amargo, Cienfuegos, Death & Co., Mayahuel and Mother of Pearl. His latest, Coup, is scheduled to open this week.
The name is not a twist on coupe, as one might guess, given DeRossi’s cocktail connections. It’s just Coup, as in “d’état.” DeRossi intends to use the bar to convert his political paralysis into liquid action.
“One-hundred percent of the profits are going to organizations that are either being defunded by the current administration or need money to fight the current administration, like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU,” he said.
The bar’s message will be unmistakable: DeRossi has commissioned artists to recreate some of the more clever signs that protesters have been brandishing at anti-Trump rallies and marches in recent months. At Coup, they will become décor.
Coup won’t be the first bar opened in protest of President Donald Trump. During the week before the election and the week of the inauguration, Barrel, a saloon in Washington, converted its basement into a jokey, for-profit Trump-themed pop-up, with drinks like the Moscow Mole. Bar Ilegal, another Washington pop-up, sponsored by Ilegal Mezcal, ran for a week before the election, with all profits going to Niños de Guatemala, a school for underprivileged children in that country.
There are certainly many bars across America with a pro-Trump atmosphere. But few on either side of the political divide are as ambitious as Coup.
Coup will have two bars, one reserved for a rotating roster of guest bartenders, who will put in from one to several nights’ work. Each will choose an organization to receive the profits from his or her shift. Noted New York barkeeps who have already signed up include Ivy Mix (of Leyenda), Jane Danger (Mother of Pearl), Giuseppe Gonzalez (Suffolk Arms), Damon Boelte (Grand Army) and Natasha David (Nitecap). Bartenders from as far as Austin, Texas, and San Diego (Erik Castro of Polite Provisions) have also signed on.
“The current administration seems to be willfully tearing down the good works built up by administrations past,” said Sother Teague, the head bartender at the amari-and-bitters bar Amor y Amargo, and DeRossi’s partner in the new bar. “Coup is our opportunity to use the influence that we have and the good nature of our guests to highlight some of those works that need both support and visibility.”
For him, a cause-oriented bar feels natural.
“I strongly believe that bars are meeting places for the community,” Teague said. “They create community. And communities have goals that they try and achieve together.”
The bar will be at 64 Cooper Square, the former site of DeRossi’s seafood restaurant Bergen Hill, which he closed in February after deciding to convert most of his bars and restaurants to vegan fare. Max Green will be head bartender.
The partners are calling Coup a pop-up, but don’t be surprised if it sticks around a while.
“It’s going to be open for at least as long as the current administration,” DeRossi said.