Taste

A Bar Named 'Coup' Is Helping Charities Fight Back In Trump's America

Just one drink goes a long way.
04/14/2017 04:48pm ET | Updated April 17, 2017
Benjamin Sklar
Ravi DeRossi, Sother Teague, and Max Green are opening a Trump protest themed bar near Cooper Union.

One bar is doing its best to reverse some of the damage that’s already been done by Trump’s administration.

Coup, short for “coup d’état,” opens today in Manhattan and plans to donate 100 percent of its profits to charity. It’s the brainchild of restauranteur Ravi DeRossi. He conceptualized the bar ― and its mission ― after President Trump was elected in November. DeRossi told The Huffington Post that at the time, he felt angry, hurt and betrayed.

“I didn’t go into work for a couple days,” DeRossi told HuffPost on Friday. When he finally did get out of his bed and into some of the restaurants he owns (like Death & Company, Mother of Pearl and Cienfuegos), DeRossi found that most of New York ― and his employees ― felt the same way he did. His bartenders and staff, some of whom are immigrants, were upset and worried. Some wondered if they were going to lose their health insurance.

One night in January, DeRossi finally figured out just how he was going to fight the current administration. Over drinks with his business partner, Sother Teague, Teague told him about a charity salon in Houston, Texas called Okra (Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs). According to Okra’s website, every time patrons buy a drink, they can cast a vote for one of four local charities. At the end of each month, the charity with the most votes get the next month of proceeds. Thus, the idea for Coup was born.

Stephie Kimberly
DeRossi commissioned artist friends to make the artwork, which is a take on protest signs from marches. 

“We decided 100 percent of the profits were going to be donated to organizations that are either being defunded by the current administration or organizations that need money to fight the current administration,” DeRossi said.

When customers order a drink, they’ll get a token to place in one of six jars. The jars are labeled with causes (tonight you’ll find Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch) that will rotate between 30 to 40 different organizations. Gratuity is included with the purchase of a drink, but if you’d still like to tip, it will also go to charity. Special guest bartenders will man one bar and choose a charity (or charities) of their choice, while the other bar will be run by house bartenders.

The drink menu is unlike what you’d find at other bars DeRossi owns, featuring traditional cocktails, mocktails and beer, wine and champagne offerings. DeRossi said the menu was specifically designed to make anyone and everyone feel welcome (including those not in the craft cocktail space).

Coup is located near Astor Place, in the space formerly occupied by DeRossi’s now-closed restaurant, Bergen Hill. Though he and his partners are calling it a pop up, the restaurateur said Coup will be open “as long as the current administration is in power.”

“If and when that changes, we’ll decide at that point what we’ll do,” he said.

Coup opens Friday, April 14 and is located at 64 Cooper Square.

Stephie Kimberly
A sign saying, "The pilgrims were undocumented."
Stephie Kimberly
A shot of Coup's interior. 
Stephie Kimberly
Some of the drink selection. 

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