Meet George Woolley, the Director Behind 'Hey Mr. Mixologist'
First, there was the "Shit Bartenders Say video" and now there's "Hey Mr. Mixologist." The video by Fog & Smog riffs on the craft cocktail movement. And it takes no prisoners, poking fun at every angle — the long wait for a drink, facial hair, wacky ingredients, glacier-sized ice and password protected bars.
Here's a little preview of the catchy chorus: Hey Mr. Mixologist! / Did you have to go to college for this? / It seems like you got some knowledge, it's just / A cocktail for twenty dollars plus tip? Shit.
Was there a specific incident in a bar that inspired Mr. Mixologist?
George Woolley: I lived in NYC for five years from 2001 to 2006 and that marked my first exposure to the prohibition-style bar culture renaissance. In the early days, some friends took me around to some spot where they were serving drinks out of teacups in a back room. Totally dug the effort and creativity people were putting into creating this old-new type of drinking environment. But my mind was blown when I got taken on my first drinking date to Milk & Honey. I was told that reservations were required, as we would have to be buzzed in by the "eye in the sky." The scene inside was amazing, no one speaking above a whisper, bartenders were wearing tweed vests, and a list of rules in the bathroom that prohibited hitting on women at the bar unless they made the first move.
What's the story behind shooting at La Descarga?
They've really curated the whole drinking experience there. It’s Hollywood magic. Your experience is directed as if you are in a film – the exterior of the place, the doorman, the walk up the sketchy staircase, the entrance to the foyer. The decor is probably by some award winning set designer, the chick that greets you is dressed perfectly in period outfit. She takes pleasure in watching you figure out where the hell you are and how the hell you are supposed to get to the bar — and then she gives you the whole Narnia closet treatment. It’s an amazing place from an aesthetic and ambiance perspective.
Who were the bartenders in the Mr. Mixologist video?
I reached out to La Descarga manager Steve Livigni who hooked me up with a couple of his friends: François Vera, Dave Fernie, and Daniel Nelson. All three of them expertly reenacted their nightly role as pro-mixologists, with a few embellishments for comedic effect. They all brought a ton of mixology glasswear and tools they've collected over the years and Daniel's sharkskin suit took it to a next level.
What was the most surprising reaction you had from the bartender community about this vid?
For me, I always love it when people react to small things in the videos. A bar recently implemented the Chebacca's Jacuzzi (featured in the video) into their nightly menu — that's rad. We've gotten great feedback from a broader audience without alienating the core community. It’s important for us to work with folks who are able to poke fun at their passions and recognize when these trends are going a bit overboard.
What is your favorite drink of choice and why?
As much as I love the theater of the mixology world, the real reason we did this video is the shared experience of waiting way too long to get a drink at the bar. Keep it simple syrup, go for a single malt scotch on the rocks.
What is your go-to bar in L.A.?
My favorite drink is the Barbacoa over at Rivera. Liquid beef jerky.