A large crowd gathers at Cherrity Bar for SA Speak Up.
A large crowd gathers at Cherrity Bar for the SA Speak Up budget discussion on Aug. 28, 2018. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

San Antonio’s first and only philanthropic hangout, The Cherrity Bar, celebrates its official grand opening Friday – by giving it all away.

Located at the corner of Cherry and Montana streets on the East Side, The Cherrity Bar combines cocktails and charitable giving, providing an easy and fun way for customers to give to the causes they care about. Each month, all profits from the bar, which also serves wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages, go to four area nonprofits.

Chef Michael Sohocki’s The Gwendolyn Group, which operates Restaurant Gwendolyn and the Japanese noodle house Kimura, manages the bar and its restaurant, the Ramen Bar at The Cherrity Bar.

Founded earlier this year by Eastside developer David Malley and his wife, Pam, The Cherrity Bar is modeled after similar concepts in Houston and Portland, Oregon. The bar will continuously support the Tourette Association of America (TAA) with 10 percent of each month’s profits. The Malley’s young son has Tourette syndrome, and Pam Malley serves on the TAA education advisory board.

Every time a customer buys a beverage or spends at least $10 or more at the Ramen Bar, he or she receives a token that can be used to vote for one of three charities featured that month. The charity with the most tokens at the end of the month receives the largest portion (60 percent) of that month’s profits, while the others receive 20, 10, and 10 percent, respectively.

With the help of SA2020, the Malleys identify three nonprofit agencies each month to participate and compete for proceeds. For the coming months, Cherrity received 40 applications from nonprofits seeking to participate.

Charities benefitting from September sales include Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio, San Antonio Pets Alive, and Haven for Hope. In October, The Cherrity Bar will be supporting City Year San Antonio, The National Hispanic Institute at San Antonio, and Snack Pak 4 Kids.

As the concept catches on, David Malley expects profits to grow and payouts to get larger. Until then, the committee that selects the competing nonprofits is focused on more established and well-known charities with large followings. “We want to make sure people don’t get nothing in return for their efforts,” Malley said, adding he has plans to develop tournaments and other events that would help smaller nonprofits.

During the bar’s competition in August, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas (BBBS) participated and came in second among the three nonprofits participating, which included the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio and the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.

Denise Barkhurst, president and CEO of BBBS, said the nonprofit will receive the donation later this month, but she knows there were more than 1,000 tokens in the jar by the end of the month.

“I hope it catches on like wildfire – it is such a cool idea,” Barkhurst said. “Prior to having our event, I went to San Antonio Youth Literacy‘s Spelling Bee event there during their month. That was a hoot! We might try something bigger like that next year.”

The Cherrity Bar calls itself a family-friendly venue offering live music, lawn games, and signature drinks. The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, rain or shine, Malley said. The bar is located at 302 Montana St. Parking is available in lots at 321 and 323 Montana St. and in Lot C at the Alamodome.

Avatar photo

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.