It’s been more than a year and a half since the Rivard Report published Jeret Peña’s in-depth look into San Antonio’s burgeoning cocktail culture, “The Rise of the Cocktail in a City on the Rise.” His piece provided a behind-the-scenes look at how a handful of local bartenders, armed with passion – and a spark of outside guidance – started changing the way San Antonians imbibe their spirits.

The rest, as they say, is history.

On Tuesday, March 3, the Rivard Report and the Boulevardier Group will present a documentary that dives even deeper into the scene.  Two screenings will take place in an event space above Peña’s latest craft cocktail bar, The Last Word, at 229 E. Houston St. Tickets for the event are $15 via Brown Paper Tickets.

(Note: this ticketing services charges a modest service fee, bringing the total to $16.52.)

Doors for the first showing open at 6:30 p.m. for mingling and specialty cocktails in advance of the 7 p.m. screening. The film is approximately 45 minutes long. There will be a brief intermission. The second screening will start at 9 p.m. 

Click here to purchase tickets for the 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. screenings.

Space is limited and organizers expect a sellout for both shows. Parking in City garages and street parking spaces will be free for Downtown Tuesday.

A brief discussion with Peña, Rivard Report Director Robert Rivard, filmmakers, and local bartenders featured in the film will follow each screening. Cocktails will be created by Peña and the Boulevardier Group.

Filmmaker, San Antonio native, and New York City resident Frank Bernal and his team have completed the final touches on the film that’s more than a year in the making. Worry not; Bernal didn’t a produce a dry, self-promoting documentary about bartenders that were simply sick of making Long Island Iced Teas.

The film feels more like tagging along with your new friend while he introduces you to some of the most experienced bartenders in the city. It’s part conversation and part education and sure to feel like you’re there with them and, well, you kind of will be with Peña and several local bartenders watching the story unfold with you while enjoying specialty cocktails.

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“It’s a wonderful look into the perspective of the bartender in regards to the city’s overall culture,” Peña said. “It’s our take on why we think craft cocktails are becoming huge in San Antonio.”

Peña and his team promise a unique and classy experience for those that attend the screenings.

“I knew Jeret as a person who has made his name through food and culture in San Antonio. He’s a really original guy, someone we felt that would be really fun to put on camera to talk about the community, to talk about food and downtown region,” Bernal told the Rivard Report in an interview last year.

Bernal and Peña had worked together on a couple of videos for Kindform, an online magazine, shop, and production company that focuses on the arts and culture of South Texas. In a two-part series, Peña explores the food truck scene in downtown San Antonio in “A Night on the Town with Jeret Peña.

This community and region continues to grow exponentially – in the form of new establishments opening up or new cocktail menus at San Antonio staples. The wildly successful nonprofit San Antonio Cocktail Conference grows bigger every year, as evidenced by increased attendance and yearly contributions to children’s charities.

The Boulevardier Group manages The Last Word and is comprised of Peña, Rob Gourlay, Javier Gutierrez, Jorel Peña, and Joe Hernandez. Since opening the Brooklynite in 2012, Peña has opened Stay Golden Social House with the group in April 2014  (part of the first phase of the larger warehouse it’s housed in), The Last Word (which opened in December 2014), and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. A smaller, reservation-only cocktail bar inside the 2,500-square-foot basement space of The Last Word is in the works to open up by the end of 2015.

The group also provides consultant services to existing and new restaurants in town that want to bring a sophistication to their bar menus, including Hot Joy and Broadway 5050.

*Featured/top image: Screenshot from the film, “Cocktail Culture on the Rise.” 

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Iris Dimmick

Iris Dimmick

Senior reporter Iris Dimmick covers City Hall, politics, development, and more. Contact her at iris@sareport.org