Do You Like Cocktails and Conspiracy?

Remember how there was talk of a political club or bar or café at 145 Nassau, in the corner storefront at Beekman? Well, a liquor-license application for something called Tarbell Industries at that address popped up on the updated Community Board 1 agendas. And there’s a website! The boldfacing is mine.

Tarbell Cocktails and Conspiracy is a member-based political salon that honors the spirit of Progressive Era muckrakers and brings together a new generation of writers, artists and troublemakers. During the day, it’s a hub for grassroots politics, civic innovation, electoral reform, environmental activism and better urbanism. It supports other local independent businesses, entrepreneurs, and community groups in Lower Manhattan—fostering Main Street values in the shadow of Wall Street.

By night, Tarbell opens its doors to the public, encouraging everyone to enjoy the spirit of revolutionary leisure. Members with unfinished business can tuck away into the secret scheming room, with direct access to the bartender via a covert drink-sized window. On any given night, members and guests will find a sneak preview of a highly-anticipated documentary, a panel with brilliant young academic rebels, a presentation by a visiting international activist arts collective, or a report-back from the front lines by a multimedia journalist returning from an urgent investigation. Meanwhile, at the bar, artful drinks are poured and imbibed amidst the buzz of provocative conversation.

Funded by its own grassroots community, Tarbell is a gathering place for everyone to scheme and plot and create a more hopeful 21st century.

A secret scheming room?! A covert drink-sized window?! Membership appears to be based on paying dues and not much else—I was hoping for black-ball voting—and you seem to have to pay at least $50 to get into the secret scheming room. For $500 a year you can also get free coffee; for $5000 a year they’ll name a drink after you.

Who’s behind this? FiDi resident Kate Albright-Hanna, “documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer and producer.” The video at top explains the concept even further, and includes interview footage with Albright-Hanna. Before you question whether it’s viable, note that Tarbell raised $18,000 in an online drive, and as you can see from the photo at right, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio graced one of the crowdfunding parties. (It looks like he was doing that I-can-touch-the-chandelier-with-my-head trick of his again.)

Albright-Hanna has this to say about Tarbell on her website:

Tarbell is a project that emerged out of my experiences with the 2008 Obama campaign, as well as with journalism—at CNN, Vice, ProPublica, Frontline and MSNBC. Its primary mission is to connect people who care deeply about justice and equality, about exposing wrongdoing, and about empowering regular people to take back their democracy. It’s a business model based on the power of cocktails to rebuild the progressive infrastructure.

And there are these sketches:

Tarbell1Tarbell2Much more when it opens, of course….

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1 Comment

  1. “the power of cocktails to rebuild the progressive infrastructure”? Hmmm, perhaps this idea was a byproduct of mezcal and worm. That sure ain’t a Bloomberg quote. And I doubt de BLasio will condone or practice this form of politi[c]king. Still, i hope this dream comes to fruition! Suerte!