The Barmobile Launches Kickstarter Campaign
Kevin Mabry, Domingo-Martin Barreres, and Suzie Dagenais, friends from their days at the BiNA Family Hospitality group (JM Curley, Bogie’s Place, and Merrill & Co.), caught everyone off guard this winter when they purchased a 30-foot, 1946 Flxible Airliner and announced that they would be transforming it into a mobile bar that would cater to weddings and other private events around the city. It’s a novel idea for sure, which is why they’re confident they’ll reach their $35,000 Kickstarter goal, a 30-day campaign they launched earlier this week. But according to the trio, their vintage booze bus is far more than just a kitschy side project—it’s a progressive next step in the evolution of a city embracing its trademark spirit of innovation, not to mention its increasingly youthful demographic.
Inspired by Mabry and Barreres’ experiences at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, where they saw brand endorsed trailers from Bulleit bourbon and St. Germain liqueur, the two decided to take the idea even further. Whereas those earlier predecessors were largely ornamental, nonfunctioning automobiles towed from place to place, The Barmobile will have a sense of autonomy and showmanship. Not only will they be able to drive the actual trailer, but it’ll be a true classic cocktail bar in every sense, with banquettes for seating, keg lines for soda and draft cocktails, and all the necessary prep areas for constructing their arsenal of juleps and daiquiris.
It’s why the group has set such an aggressive Kickstarter goal. Mabry says $35,000 was the bare minimum they could ask for in order to pull off the impossible: turning a rusted shell into a reliable, running vehicle, as well as a catering business compliant with the demands of Health Department. With such an unprecedented business model, there has also been the hurdles of adhering to outdated licensing and alcohol laws, which is partly why Mabry left his position as bar manager at Merrill & Co. and JM Curley in February to help spearhead the project.
Since then, they’ve discovered the relatively new 12C catering license which will allow them to host private events, corporate parties, charitable opportunities, and anywhere else there isn’t already a liquor license. The group also says the ABCC has been ecstatic about the project, helping them procure six daily public licenses, which they hope to use at public events like SoWa Market and holiday celebrations around Boston Common.
“Someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for is James DiSabatino and what he did with Roxy’s Grilled Cheese,” Mabry says. “He pushed all the right buttons and asked questions like, ‘Why can’t we do this? Why can’t food trucks be accepted in this capacity?’ Now you look at most street corners and you can see how he paved the way with food trucks in this town. He was a trendsetter that changed the ambience and perspective of the city. We want try and do the same thing. Boston is the innovation hub, and The Barmobile is an innovative product. Nobody has done anything like this with this kind of scope before.”
If The Barmobile crew is able to reach their Kickstarter goal this spring, they say they’ll have the Airliner on the road by the end of August. And that’s only the beginning. If The Barmobile concept proves to be as popular as they’re predicting (the mayor of Somerville is already trying to lock up their services for a number of public events), they intend to purchase even more trailers and grow the brand into a fleet of trucks that will roam the whole state, from Nantucket to Plum Island, and beyond.