These Women Are Making the Cocktail World More Accessible to the Black Community

How an incident at a summer protest sparked a very cool idea.

Bartenders Against Racism founder Allison Lane. Photograph of Lane by Thalia Romero

In June, as George Floyd’s killing sparked protests, Allison Lane found herself trapped in a house on Swann Street near Dupont Circle—the one that became a safe haven for 70 fellow protesters who had been “kettled” by police and threatened with arrest. Lane, who was then furloughed from the Japanese/Spanish restaurant Cranes in Penn Quarter—quickly started live-tweeting the experience. (It went viral.) “Being a bartender helped me keep calm,” she says.

Within a few days, Lane founded a group called Bar-tenders Against Racism. The organization, which she has now established as a nonprofit, will provide mentorship, training, and resources to Black and minority hospitality workers.

Fellow bartender Kapri Robinson of Petworth’s Reliable Tavern has a similar mission at Chocolate City’s Best, which she formed to boost education opportunities and visibility for BIPOC folks in the bar-and-restaurant world. Her first move: a four-day cocktail competition in October that drew contestants from all over the country.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.