Foster the People Downs the Demon Water at LexBar

It’s 6:40 on a damp evening in New York when Mark Foster, Mark Pontius, and Cubbie Fink arrive at LexBar, a posh lounge in the St. Giles – The Court hotel frequented by a certain gaggle of raven haired sisters whose names all start with K. The three young men are known collectively as Foster the People, an LA-based indie rock band that rose to prominence last summer with “Pumped Up Kicks,” an addictive party anthem about a guy looking to blast away at some fancily-shod kids with his dad’s six-shooter.

They’re in town to play a few gigs at local clubs The Box, Mercury Lounge, and Knitting Factory in support of their debut album, Torches.

Tonight is an evening to relax and sample rum cocktails by the venue’s head bartender, Drew Maloney, who boasts 25 years of experience and a master’s grasp of flavor, balance, and presentation. As we settle into the black banquette and chat about the new record, the cocktails start arriving, one after the other. What follows is an inspired, scientific, and somewhat poetic take on a decidedly tropical evening in Manhattan.

Cocktail #1, Rum-Two Punch: 1 ½ oz. Don Q Cristal rum, 1 ½ oz. Bacardi 8 rum, 1 oz. fresh guava juice, 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice, 1 oz. fresh cranberry juice, ¼ oz. fresh lime juice, ¼ oz. agave nectar. Garnish with orange slice and cherries. Mark Pontius: I like it because it’s kind of bitter, like grapefruit, which reminds me of my grandmother, who ate grapefruit every morning. It’s good in that way, but I could go sweeter. Cubbie Fink: The initial blast on the palate is tropical, like sitting on a beach, but there’s a tart aftertaste. A tropical drink should be smoother. Mark Foster: When I drink this I think about naked female pirates holding me captive and pouring it down my throat.

Cocktail #2, Strawberry Mojito: Muddle in rocks glass: 2 medium strawberries, 3 lime wedges, 1 tsp sugar, 5 mint leaves. Add ice and 2 oz. Bacardi Limon rum, splash of soda water, splash of fresh sour mix. Garnish with strawberry. MP: The strawberry is awesome, except I just tried to sip it and a mint leaf got stuck in the straw. CF: I can’t get any drink, my straw’s clogged. Okay, I’ll sip it. I’m definitely not a sweet-drink drinker, but this is really tasty. MF: It makes me think of Aunt Jemima jumping up and down on a huge stack of pancakes and tossing strawberries into the air.

Cocktail #3, Mandarin Delight: Muddle in rocks glass: 3 sections of mandarin orange, 3 lime wedges, ¼ oz. agave nectar. Add ice and 1 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse rum, 1 oz. Cointreau. Shake vigorously and top with 2 oz. Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. MP: My least favorite because it’s too sour, and I’m not a sour drink person. Good for one sip. CF: It’s kind of a shock to the senses, which I like. It has bite and good flavor. My favorite of the three so far. MF: It’s something I think Mark Twain would have loved. Even though it has mandarin in it, it still feels like a man’s drink.

Cocktail #4, Lexcolada: 2 oz. Bacardi Light rum, 1 oz. pineapple puree, 1 ½ oz. pineapple juice, 1 ½ oz. coconut milk. Garnish with pineapple slice. MP: This hits my heart. Before I was 21, I used to order virgin Piña Coladas, the kind from the machine. This is better than that, and boozier. CF: It’s as if I bored to the center of a coconut and somehow found alcohol and other ingredients in there. It’s like chewing on coconut milk. Definitely the best Piña Colada I’ve ever had. MF: I could wake up and have this with cereal.

Cocktail #5, Mai Tai: 1 ½ oz. Mount Gay Eclipse rum, ¼ oz. orgeat syrup, ½ oz. pineapple juice, ½ oz. lime juice, ¼ oz. grenadine. Garnish with lime. MP: This is actually the first Mai Tai I’ve ever had, and it’s great. My first thought was of a chocolate bar. CF: It’s a Mai Tai that’s been brought to the city. It has some edge that a Mai Tai on the beach lacks. There’s a creamy aftertaste that’s really interesting. MF: The first thing I thought of when I sipped it was Freddy Mercury, because he was so tough on the outside and tender on the inside. Actually, my first thought was leather, and that brought me to Freddy Mercury. It’s an S&M drink. It’s a muscular man that likes other muscular men.

Halloween at Stone Rose NYC

We assume you’re already deep into your Halloween planning. What comical yet topical costume idea have you chosen to embrace this year, you clever little minx? Let’s hope it involves smeary makeup and/or stifling latex. Regardless, as always, it doesn’t really matter so much who you are as much as where you are, and one stellar where-to-be this ‘Ween will be New York’s Stone Rose.

It’s a pretty straightforward proposal – the Stone Rose is clubbing out for the night, with 5 DJs for 5 hours, “costume preferred,” from 10pm to 3am. And of course, should you choose to venue-hop, other prominently enjoyable Gerber Group properties are also sporting Access Perks for happy users of our very own BlackBook Guide for iPhone. Check out a special $10 Guava Sin cocktail at Whiskey Park, $5 Shots of Herradura Silver (Sunday-Thursday only, sorry) at Underbar, and 15% tequila and whiskey flights at LEX Bar. Treat, trick, take your pleasure. RSVP to {encode=”srevents@gerberbars.com” title=”srevents@gerberbars.com”}.

An Interview with Gerber Group’s Mystery Man, Scott Gerber

A few years back, when I was a partner in SLDesign, I had the pleasure of working with Scott and Rande Gerber, who hired us to work on their rooftop at the W Hotel Buckhead. Rande Gerber is, of course, that former ex-model who is married to Cindy Crawford and is the face of such brands as the Whiskey, Whiskey Blue, Whiskey Sky, Whiskey Park, Whiskey Bar and Grill, Wetbar, Underbar…you get the idea. He also heads up those Stone Rose joints. With somewhere near 30 properties worldwide, Gerber Group is one of the world’s top hospitality brands.

The Gerber group just opened three new venues in the new W Santiago and a Stone Rose Bar and Grill at the JFK Delta terminal. They also offer the midnight bar collection, which is a complete line of seven essential cocktail mixers “made with all the finest all natural ingredients.” With all these amazing achievements and projected developments, Rande Gerber and the Gerber group are household names. However, my Chihuahua has almost as much name recognition as Rande’s brother and partner Scott Gerber.

A google search of his name took me to a ton of Rande links. But Scott Gerber is responsible for directing all of the business operations, including new business development, negotiating partnerships, liaison with property owners, overseeing management and coordinating construction of the properties. He is a gentleman and a scholar with a BS in finance from the University of Arizona. I caught up with Scott yesterday and shot him a couple of questions. He’s a very busy guy.

I googled you and found practically nothing. It basically just refers people to your brother Rande or the Gerber group. Why do you prefer being in the background? It’s much safer that way. [Laughs]. I run the business end of the business. Rande is more involved with the design and aesthetic.

We all know that Rande is much more than just a pretty face. Is there a clear separation of duties? Yes, there’s a clear delineation. Rande wouldn’t get involved with the day-to-day operations.

How many places are you operating and how many more are in the works? We operate 30 properties and we’re having conversations about 10 more. Probably we’ll start up 5 of these this year.

This JFK Stone Rose Bar and Grill fascinates me. Nowhere in my experience is food and service worse than at an airport. I guess that’s changing. Tell me about your synergy with Delta. Our midnight bar collection is being served on Delta flights. Instead of just getting a little bottle and a mixer we make margaritas and cosmos. We teamed with Delta on this and it’s an in-flight revolution. I travel every other week and I know what has been available to a traveler. Were often waiting for a plane for one, two or even five hours. At Stone Rose we have a full bar and menu so you have a relaxed and stylish spot while you are waiting. Our menu gives you a great sandwich or steak and a variety of bites like buffalo mozzarella salad, buffalo wings. Much more than the typical traveling fare.

I guess with increased security we are all forced to spend more time in the airports waiting. Did that extra time factor into your decision to open an airport location? Of course. Travelers are told to be there two hours before their flight. Everyone comes at least one hour early. We wanted to provide something besides the cheesy places that are currently the norm. You can now get a great drink and food while you wait for your plane. Delta asked us to get involved as they try to take their brand more upscale. They even have David Barton exercise facilities at their terminal at JFK.

As hospitality drives the major hotel chains, the Gerber group is the big kid on the block. The Stone Rose in JFK raises the bar and creates a whole new market for food and beverage brands. I’m sure that very soon other hospitality groups will get into the act. Will it be long before we see Pure at the Las Vegas airport? Or Tao, LAX? How about La Esquina, LaGuardia? Customers want things the way they want them, and that means everywhere. They want Whole Foods not Met Foods. They want high end design and style in their boutique hotel, not just in the room, but in the clubs and restaurants that bring the beautiful locals to them. Luxury, boutique brands, with increasingly enhanced amenities, will be available to them wherever they go. Thank god I have a place to hang and eat at JFK. The Delta brand means something more to me today than it did the last time I traveled. What a great idea. If I ever find myself in Santiago, Chile, maybe visiting my friend Lindsey Risk, I’ll stay at The W and visit the Gerber Group’s Whiskey Blue, W Lounge and Red 2 One. I know I can expect high design, great service and an understanding of my needs.