NorthStar's Iron Bartender competition begins Sunday

Shawn Jones of Parlour will be one of the first competitors
Shawn Jones of Parlour will be one of the first competitors
Chad Larson

There can be only one winning team. This Sunday kicks off the hottest drink shaking competition in town: The North Star Bartenders Guild's Iron Bartender. This event pits select drink makers from across our fair Twin Cities against one another to find out who can crush the cocktail competition. These events always include fireworks, in the form of drinks literally set on fire, or pumped up bartenders tearing off their shirts and natty vests to bare their pale bellies. We didn't say it would be pretty, but we can guarantee there will be good drinks.

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The first round of competition will kick off this Sunday at 8:00 pm on the stage at


. The evening will be hosted by Nick Kosevich, benevolent booze overlord of

Eat Street Social

and Bittercube Bitters and the reigning president of the NorthStar Bartenders Guild (NSBG.)

Guests can watch the cocktails being made and study the judges' faces as they slowly down drink after handcrafted drink. (Full disclosure: I will be one of them).

We spoke with Jesse Held, former NSBG president and beverage manager at Borough/Parlour and the upcoming Coup D'etat. His team (including Jones, pictured above) will appear in the first heat. "I'm really happy with the brackets this year," he says. "It's all killer no filler. There are some really, really great bartenders competing." 

As with all NSBG events, there is a charitable component. The Iron Bartender will benefit Public Functionary, a contemporary art community in northeast Minneapolis.

The Iron Bartender competition will run every Sunday evening for the next four weeks, culminating with the crowning of the ultimate cocktail makers. Will La Belle Vie, under the Obi-Wan tutelage of Johnny Michaels, retain its title? Will the stacked deck at Borough topple the dynasty? Will the dapper dons of Eat Street Social kill them all? Stay tuned.

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