Please note: I had a major lack of photography skills on this evening.
According to the Reykjavik Bar Summit’s official website: The Reykjavík Bar Summit is an annual event where bars and bartenders from around the world gather to compete on neutral ground. The event is also a celebration for the bar community where those with a shared love of cocktails can meet, compete, mingle, party and get inspired. Bars from around the world will compete in preparing drinks, service, bar set up, creativity, atmosphere and more, providing a great way to introduce your bar to the best bars and bartenders from around the globe. This could also be an opportunity for those artisanal producers to get acquainted with the legends of the trade! There will be spots to meet and mingle, guest shifts at select bars and unforgettable parties. This event is set to light the city on fire with cocktail culture, bringing Reykjavík to the world and the world to Reykjavík!
I was unfortunately unable to go to the 2nd annual event in it’s entirety. I was however able to go to the Battle of the Continents held at the beautiful Harpa concert hall. And to say the event was on fire is an understatement. There were literally drinks on fire.
The Battle of the Continents was a separate ticket price and for the price of drinks in Reykjavik it was a steal at under $20 USD for 5 cocktails. I was able to show up at the event and buy my admission at the door. I was then given 5 tickets. For each ticket you are given one drink. One side of the room was lined with drinks made the bars across the US while the other side of the room had the same set up but from bars across Europe. The event went for 3 hours and at the end of the night the side (US or Europe) who had the most tickets won.) I looked at the menu and a lot of drinks caught my eye. I knew I needed to choose wisely.
I chose to start among my people from the US. I had been in Iceland for about 3 weeks at this point and Europe for about 4 and I was slightly missing my fellow Americans. My traveling companion for this event was a Canadian I had met the previous night while we both were out celebrating Iceland’s Beer Day.
I opted on the Reykjavik mule which was a play on the Moscow mule. It was made by an American team so I was curious about it being from the Americans but with very European roots. I immediately hit it off with the bartender as I found out he was a born and raised New Yorker starting out in the Bronx and now living in Brooklyn. His true New York personality, something that I never knew I really could miss, the wheelin’ and dealin’ became evident immediately. He told me America was loosing and they needed tickets. He offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse, (though I did counter it before accepting on my terms.) He told me if I gave him my 5 tickets right then and there I would be able to drink for free all night. Now as someone who is not a heavy drinker I should have declined and stuck with my 5 drinks which would have me feelin’ good, but not too good. But as someone living on a budget and knowing 2 cocktails anywhere in Reykjavik would already cost more than what I paid for these 5 tickets, I couldn’t really pass up this offer. But there was one drink that really caught my eye by Europe, so like any good American I countered. I said I’d give him 4 tickets for the same deal. We agreed and I was off to the races! (That’s racing the clock before the event was over.)
I wont get into too many details from the event as it’s really something everyone should experience for themselves. But I’ll list some of the highlights of what happened:
- Dance off on the stage between America and Europe.
- A separate time with Europe’s boys dancing on the bar while America’s girls decide to jump up on their bar and dance away.
- A kissing booth on America’s side.
- 2 for 1 drink offers.
- Shots being offered through the crowd.
- Cocktails on fire but a neutral zone separate table between the two in a land they called “Iceland”.
- Europe pouring straight from the pitcher into waiting mouths a drink that had the look and frozeny consistency of a pina colada and unfortunately spilling it on shirts. (I learned from experience how bad this looks, especially when you’re wearing a tank and blazer and its all over the front of you.)
Europe ultimately won the battle, but America gave a valiant effort and I’m sure will come back strong and ready to rock in 2017. I look forward to see you all there!