We Hosted An Unauthorized Pop-Up Bar At BlogHer

Champagne Party Bitters
Frankly, the title of this post should say it all. But it’s not just about hosting an unauthorized pop-up-bar at BlogHer—a thing we did, in fact, do. It’s about taking risks, being creative, and finding your own tribe.

It is also about champagne.

This year, 75% of 24 Volumes—Sara, Ryan, and Marcella—attended BlogHer.

Sara and Marcella arrived alone.

Ryan arrived with six (6) bottles of champagne.

Now, the math clearly states that 6 % 3 = 2. There were two bottles of champagne for each of us. We joined forces to drink one of them; but consuming the remaining 1.67 bottles per person seemed the kind of experiment best attempted in someone else’s dorm lounge. So we put the bottles of champagne in the hotel room fridge, and went down into the world of BlogHer.

We laughed with Tig Notaro until our tummies hurt, and we cried our eyes out at Voices of the Year. We learned to optimize our sidebars and write better craft tutorials. We exchanged a lot of business cards, spread the word about our blog, and made good contacts. We fangirled all over Rachel from Handmade Charlotte. And those things were, we thought, the reason we’d come to BlogHer in the first place.

(Meanwhile, the champagne—five (5) bottles, people—was never far from our minds.)

Bloggers are, by nature, introverts, and we’re the first to admit it. We’re not always at our best when trading elevator pitches and business cards, and we can’t communicate who we are in the time it takes to scan one another’s badges. Some of the best exchanges we have tend to be when we—quite by accident—encounter creative and interesting people with more than a few seconds to chat.

How could we find more of these people and convince them to talk to us? We haunted #BlogHer14 for cool or snarky conversations, but the hashtag was dominated by keynote session talk and announcements—-great and useful, but not what we were looking for.

Hanging with Tamarah from The Platypus Directive—a creative and interesting person we met quite by accident—we had a completely random, ridiculous idea. What if we just threw a cocktail party in the hallway? Just because we wanted to?

We did have champagne. (Pop quiz: how many bottles? Do you remember?) We also had bitters and sugar cubes, because that’s how we roll. We could provide plenty of champagne cocktails (recipe here). All we needed were cool people and cups.

(BlogHer tip: sometimes, when you are walking past a water station, 20 cups may fall into your BlogHer tote bag. This is an example of synergy.)

Now, all we needed were cool people.

Taking a deep breath, we opened champagne and Tamarah’s red wine, spread out our bitters, and waited.

Champagne Party Table
When people walked by, we offered them champagne cocktails. If they thought we were the world’s sketchiest brand reps, they hurried away. If they were interested as to what the hell we could possibly be doing, they came over and joined us, and we had cool people to talk to.

Several cocktails in, we looked around and realized we’d created what we were looking for.

Champagne Party Hug
A group of creative, interesting, funny women were laughing, getting to know each other, drinking champagne cocktails and, yes, exchanging business cards. We learned about each other’s blogs, but we also just…talked. All of us! And it was amazing.

This weekend, every keynote mentioned empowerment, the power of women to create change in themselves and the world. Last night, we were empowered to create our own BlogHer experience—populated by bloggers we would never have met if we hadn’t taken the chance to try something a little weird and different. In our own tiny way, we created change, too. We also finished all five (5) bottles of champagne.

And isn’t that the whole point of BlogHer?

I mean, to be empowered. Not to drink all that champagne.

(Although we did.)

Champagne Party Wave

Champagne courtesy of Ryan’s husband Jon, without whom this literally would not have been possible. BlogHer thanks you for your support, Jon.

#Popupbar Attendees
Thanks for sharing our champagne cocktails! We had a lovely time with you! Hope to see you again soon.

Tamarah Rockwood: The Platypus Directive

Carol Jones: All Mommy Wants

Precious Anderson: Look Pretty Be Smart

Ashley Turney: L’Esperta

Tonya Hicks: Women Do Everything

Christy Newell: Giveaway Train

Jen Baxter: JenBaxter.com

Amy White: Far From Paradise

Carrie Kirby: Car Free Mom

Mandey Ejiasi: Mama Mandolin

Marion Kicklighter: Celebrate-Family.com

edited to add:
Kori Lusignan: Koritelling

Rene Lynn aka Mrs. L

David Murphy: FoodNService