On Monday, the Greater Baton Rouge Bartenders’ Guild will host its second-ever Bar Fight, a competition between two area bartenders duking it out to see who will reign supreme. This battle is themed “New vs. Old,” pitting two Perkins Road overpass area bartenders against each other: returning champion Todd Key of Duvic’s and newcomer Adam Fontenot of Bumsteers.
The battle will be held at Bumsteers and is open to the public. Each bartender will craft a specialty cocktail based around an Old Fashioned. Five judges will taste both drinks and choose the winner. There will also be large batches of each drink for attendees to enjoy after the winner is announced.
The local bartenders guild started the event back in March as a way for bartenders to show off their skills while also connecting residents with the Baton Rouge bartending community. At the first competition, Key faced off against Brea Frederick of Hayride Scandal, both producing creative takes on an Old Fashioned. Ultimately, Key won the battle along with a boxing-style championship belt and, of course, major bragging rights.
“It was really cool to take that win,” Key says. “We have such mutual respect between us. I used to work for her, and I learned a lot from her, so it was really great.”
Now, Key will defend his title against Bumsteers’ Fontenot, coming up with an entirely new drink and seeing if his skill will captivate the judges—as well as the crowd—another time around.
“I’m definitely excited, and I’m pretty confident,” Fontenot says. “But honestly as long as I put something out that I like, I’ll be happy.”
As for what the two have in store for the battle, both are pretty secretive. Key says he will be sticking to a rye whiskey Old Fashioned of some sort. Fontenot says that though he loves the traditional whiskey version, he may just go another route.
Regardless, both agree that camaraderie and exposure are what the battle is all about.
“Win or lose, it’s going to be amazing for the community,” Key says. “I’m just happy to be involved.”
Bar Fight: New vs. Old is Monday, May 20, at 8 p.m. Bumsteers is at 3109 Perkins Road.