Anti-Trump bar earmarks its profits for progressive causes
Liberals who feel the current Republican presidential administration is driving them to drink now have the perfect place to do it.
A new bar, Coup, opened this month with protest-themed decor, a distinctly anti-President Donald Trump vibe and a promise by its owners to donate their profits to organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.
Patrons are offered a chance to earmark where their money goes. When they buy a drink, they get a token to drop into one of a half-dozen jars, each labeled with the name of a nonprofit group. The list of recipients will rotate. Jars on tap this week included the Natural Resources Defense Council and Human Rights Watch. Tokens also are on sale for $5.
After labor costs, liquor bills and other expenses are paid, the profits are divided among the groups based on the number of tokens they receive.
The bar was the brainchild of partners Ravi DeRossi, Sother Teague and Max Green. It's housed in a small Manhattan space where DeRossi used to have a restaurant.
The decor is modern protest. Rolls of butcher paper have been attached to the walls, inscribed with slogans like "The Pilgrims were undocumented" and "They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."
DeRossi, who owns several bars, said he was depressed by the election, which sent him into a dark mood for several weeks.
"I couldn't sit at home and sulk," he said. "I wanted to do something more positive."
The bar's name, Coup, is a reference to a sudden seizure of power from the government, rather than a house for chickens. DeRossi and Teague said it was the only name they all agreed on after starting out considering slightly less aggressive monikers.
DeRossi said he wasn't worried about backlash or bad reaction from Trump supporters.
"We're in New York City, where 90 percent voted essentially for this bar," he said.
All are welcome, he added.
"If people want to come in that are Trump supporters, they're more than welcome to come in and have a drink," he said. "They'll be treated with respect as long as they treat us with respect, and knowing that their money is going to these specific organizations."
Trump has promised to "make America great again." He has pushed to deport immigrants who are in the United States illegally, saying he wants to make the country safe, and he has said he's working to reform the tax code to lighten Americans' financial burdens, ignite economic growth and simplify tax filing.
For people looking to make less political donations at the bar, they could drop a token in a jar for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Choosing to drink at Coup "makes you feel like you're doing something," said Matthew Hayes, an attorney who was there with two friends. "Instead of just getting sotted, you can also throw something to a good cause."
He said it was also an opportunity to interact with strangers over topics like politics that people might avoid in other social settings.
"By putting yourself in a situation like this where it is a politically themed bar," he said, "that kind of takes politics off the Don't Talk About table."
Follow Deepti Hajela at www.twitter.com/dhajela. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/deepti-hajela.