Designed, built and owned by partners/cousins Charlie Thomas and Jareb Parker.
Bar culture is very important to us, so being a part of a community and bringing people together was always the goal. The name 'Middleman' denotes a facilitator, hopefully creating a space with opportunity to make connections with other neighborhood folk, artists, creators, and our amazing staff.
The interior is meant to be simple and functional, but comfortable. Design influences couple American Craftsman with a Modernist's predilection for clean lines and purposeful use of texture and material. We began the woodwork in a garage months before we had access to the building, and Parker designed and hand-built the interior space. Our friend Andrew Evan John helped with the nuts and bolts, and Jordan Thomas was key with aesthetic decisions.
We're a neighborhood bar at heart, but we figured that's no reason we couldn't also craft a phenomenal cocktail at a reasonable price. That mentality informed how the space would be designed and used. We prefer a style that's clean and bold, while also being cozy and welcoming. We wanted to feature very specific elements and textures. The wood, for example, we carefully chose and treated not only to be beautiful but to genuinely feel good. We worked with our good friend and local artist, RUMTUM, to create unique and fun artwork. He did a really great job.
Beside having a stellar staff that will make you an excellent cocktail and make you feel at home instantly, we offer comfort-style bar bites with a New Mexican flair. Justin Parker, brother and cousin to the owners, is executive chef and the food menu is his creation. He was inspired by his own love of cooking and some of our Grandmother's recipes he's particularly fond of. Our cocktails are front and center. Bartenders Lawrence Mack, Courtney Smith and Trey Hamik designed our original cocktails, and between them and our other staff, they have enough bar knowledge to publish a book at this point. We chose every beer, wine, and spirit we carry as something we're excited about, something we want to work with. Amari and vermouths are particular favorites here, as well as unusual spirits like genepy and mastiha. Honestly, if it's weird and tasty, we're likely to try and put it in a cocktail.
For events, we like to do all sorts of things. Weekends usually feature a DJ or two, and we have several residents we enjoy very much. Monday nights you can bring your own vinyl and board games (we usually play our own records as well). We love pop-up markets, hosting neighborhood clubs, late night Happy Hour, and generally anything that catches our interest.”
Our goals in refining how we approach the business: first in our minds is cultivating an inviting, inclusive culture. Then follows our product and how we present it. As long as we're getting better at what we do, we can say we've been successful. Making enough money to pay bills says that too, we suppose.