At Long Last: Social Mixology Awakens

Social Mixology founder and Star Wars super fan, Tobin Ellis.

From bartenders and other beverage professionals to barflies and people named Xania Woodman—a collective gasp echoed across the spirit-sphere on the morning of November 20, when beverage impresario, bar designer and Starbucks consultant Tobin Ellis posted a Facebook video teasing the return of his moveable speakeasy, Social Mixology.

Launched in February 2009, the pop-up event brought together like-minded spirits aficionados and party animals to get their theme on (“Fancy Pants” party, anyone?) and revel in hand-chipped ice, avant-garde cocktails and venerated classics across an ever-changing roster of locations accessed only via actual, enforced passwords—the whole nine. As Ellis’ career blossomed, it traveled with him—to Miami, New York, New Orleans, Aspen, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu and finally back to Las Vegas. And then, in 2013, it quietly closed its eyes.

Well, it’s back.

“The Force is not the only thing that awakens the week of December 18,” the 42-second video clip declares, plainly setting this up as a Star Wars-themed event. Watchers are then guided to the Social Mixology website (you can check out the video there), where … virtually no additional information awaits them. (That’s the thing about speakeasies—if it were actually easy, everyone would be there. And that’s called a bar.) So you really do have to register to join in the fun.

I managed to reach Ellis on the move in an Uber, where he did drop a bit of intelligence. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” he said. But he finally pulled the trigger during a visit to the Back Bar USA headquarters on November 19. “So we’re only 24 hours into the planning process.”

Now, if you know Ellis at all, you know that he’s a Star Wars super fan, so it’s not difficult to imagine where this party train is headed. “The teaser video is meant to get people excited, but it’s also to give people time to get into it.”

Translation? Get into it! “I want a room full of people who are dressed up,” Ellis says.

As to the exact date, that is still entirely up in the air and pending the availability of another super fan (one known to occasionally show up in full Storm Trooper regalia). “I want people to be thrilled by the authenticity,” he says. As in the past, there will be a charitable arm to the event: “This one’s a passion project.”

Oh, yes, the Force is strong with this one.