Thursday, May 30, 2024

Baby Gee Bar named in prestigious Spirited Awards as top 10 bar in the U.S. West

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After scoring an acknowledgement just last year from the prestigious Tale of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards—the bar world’s Oscars—for being one of the Top 10 best new bars in the U.S. West, Baby Gee Bar finds itself yet again recognized by the coveted awards: It has been named one of the best bars in the country’s western region.

This is the second recognition in a row from the Spirited Awards for Baby Gee Bar

Taking over what was formerly The Red Room, the tiny-but-mighty space’s honor puts Long Beach yet again on par with some of the West Coast’s biggest cities, from Los Angeles—with the Capri Club and Thunderbolt also being recognized—to San Francisco—with Trick Dog and True Laurel scoring spots on the Top 10 list.

The recognition has—also yet again—left owners and fiancees, cocktail master Gianna Johns and Long Beach native Daniel Flores, ecstatic, overwhelmed, and proud.

“We really weren’t expecting it because we got were in the Best New Bar category last year and it’s pretty difficult to follow that, so it’s a real testament to all the hard work of our staff, as well as the Long Beach bar community as a whole, continuing to raise the bar for the city,” Flores said. “Long Beach is a cocktail town and we are so proud to be a part of that.”

Spirited Awards or otherwise, Baby Gee Bar is and always will be a family-operated joint

“We really are a small family business,” Johns said. “We have no formal PR, no contractors, no designers, no consultants—it’s literally just us and our dedicated staff.”

And she’s right: Their team largely depends on two things: Its talent and word-of-mouth, exercising their staff’s connections and reputations as well as patrons’ public recommendations.

The result has been astounding. Holding true to their stance as a seasonal cocktail space with all the quality and little of the pretense, Baby Gee Bar has done that rarest of things when a newbie moves into town: Quickly connected with its community by listening to what it wants while also directly challenging them in terms of flavor profiles, what the idea of a cocktail is and could be, and earning their trust. That latter point is essential: It is not uncommon for many regulars to entirely ignore the menu and tell their bartender, “Surprise me.”

This has been the result of perpetual seasonal cocktail menu changes (like last summer’s stellar menu which featured everything from an olive-washed gin to to green peppercorn), special holiday menus (like their equally high-quality Halloween menu that had Jell-O shots and meatball sandwiches), and an unabashed belief that people are willing to explore if you assure them that their being led by, well, guides that care about their guests.

“I’m super proud of what we’ve built here and how our community in Long Beach and the greater Los Angeles Area has received us,” Johns said. “It’s so touching to be supported and acknowledged by our peers in this way. The Spirited Awards nomination for Best US Cocktail bar is the ultimate honor and validation that our hard work and passion has paid off. Cheers to pushing even harder this year to making a unique, safe and inclusive cocktail haven for the LBC.”

Can we get an amen?

Baby Gee Bar is located 1227 E. 4th St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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