With a reaction similar to shooting overproof whiskey, the Shady Lady team was knocked back and happy to hear news that their bar is up for one of the cocktail industry’s largest awards. On Monday, the R Street establishment received word it had been nominated for “Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar” in the 2015 Spirited Awards.
These awards are held in conjunction with Tales of the Cocktail, an international gathering of bartenders, bar owners, spirits professionals and others whose careers center around cocktails. As a trade gathering and spirits symposium, Tales of the Cocktail is to spirits what the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium is to wine. The latest edition of Tales of the Cocktail is slated for July 15-19 in New Orleans, with some 200 affiliated events around the city.
The contenders for the 2015 Spirits Awards, which will be held July 18, were culled from a pool of more than 2,000 prospective nominees. A panel of 100 spirits experts came up with a top 10 in each award category. Those 10 would-bes will then be narrowed down to a top four in each category, to be announced June 16.
Shady Lady faces some stiff competition in the field for “Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar,” including such metropolitan bar destinations as Honeycut of Los Angeles and New York’s Pegu Club. But Shady Lady is also soaking in some recent national acclaim, including its inclusion in Esquire’s 2014 list of the top 25 bars in America. Shady Lady was also name-checked by Thrillist as one of California’s best bars.
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Even if Shady Lady doesn’t make the final four for the 2015 Spirits Awards, just being included as a finalist is considered a major accomplishment.
“It’s the Academy Awards of spirits,” said Jason Boggs, who co-owns Shady Lady with Alex Origoni and Garrett Van Vleck. “You don’t usually see the smaller towns like Sacramento represented (in the nominees), so that was really cool to see.”