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Back Bar’s regular cocktails range from $12 to $19, and specialty drinks range from $26 to $55, and non-alcoholic offerings are $12 to 14.

Laurent Tourondel discusses his latest concept, Back Bar, in New York City

The chef teamed up with beverage director Jason Hedges at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi

At the Kimpton Hotel Eventi in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, chef Laurent Tourondel has partnered with beverage director Jason Hedges to create Back Bar, which opened last October. With a series of interconnected rooms that highlight a modern art collection curated by Kyle Dewoody, the space hosts all sorts of events, from guest mixologists to cocktail classes, and live jazz performances weekly. 

Back Bar’s regular cocktails range from $12 to $19, and specialty drinks range from $26 to $55, and non-alcoholic offerings are $12 to 14. The bar bites are priced from $19 to $28, with a short list of gelato and sorbet for $12.

Tourondel and his senior director of operations, Chris Lauber, recently discussed Back Bar.


Chef Tourondel you are known for your steakhouses and other fine dining concepts. Why did you decide to open a bar?

Laurent Tourondel: I saw the opportunity to explore something new and exciting with Back Bar, and it’s something simply fun to do. Within Back Bar we have The Hidden Bar, which is a speakeasy-style private loft area. This space offers a level of exclusivity and privacy. Back Bar provides an element of excitement, providing a fresh avenue for culinary creativity and innovation.

How do you and beverage director Jason Hedges work together on ensuring the synergy between the cocktails and the food?

LT: I wanted to curate small bites that not only complemented the diverse array of drinks we have on the menu but also contributed to an overall dining experience that was both creative and visually captivating.

What is most exciting about creating a bar menu?

LT: The opportunity to experiment with diverse flavors and presentation styles. I enjoyed creating a menu of small bites that are both inventive and visually appealing. From sandwiches to lighter fare, shareable choices and more indulgent options, I appreciate the opportunity to curate a menu that caters to a spectrum of palates and preferences.

Chris Lauber, tell us about the Visiting Luminary program and the impetus behind it?

Chris Lauber: The focus of the series is to showcase the brightest minds, past and present, on the bar scene, locally and internationally. 

I view bars like many people view restaurants: There are many, but only some stand out as exceptional. Bartenders are like chefs, but with liquids. Therefore, I wanted to collaborate on a series of events that brought the best minds of the bar scene together under one roof for extended periods of time, or one night only, but with the shared goal of creating the ultimate bespoke guest experience. There is something beautiful about knowing all things are temporary.

What was important to you about the feel and look of the space? 

CL: For each series we produce, it's so important that we emulate the bar that we are collaborating with. For Angel's Share, we brought furniture from the original location and recreated the mural in the back wall, among many other things. For Schmuck, we wanted to emulate their specific 'five star dive bar' style and they wanted to showcase a preview of what to expect at their soon-to-open bar this fall in the East Village. For our next series, starting May 1, well, you'll have to see what lengths we go to for that one. It's going to be big.


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