Rooftop Cocktail lifts up creative class


Rooftop Cocktail offers a showcase for the creative class, including bartenders, at UICA. Courtesy To the Top Media

Rooftop Cocktail will celebrate art, cocktails and fashion from the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts rooftop tonight.

During the night, cocktail designers representing various restaurants and bars will set up remote bars and compete for Best Rooftop Cocktail on the rooftop terrace of the UICA.

Guests will participate in the voting process by using social media to cast their ballots.

“Bartenders are artists that research, test products and know their stuff, but are rarely recognized for their skills,” said Crystal Hilliard, event organizer. “Why not put them on a platform to shine for the whole city to see?”

A dozen designers and boutique owners from across West Michigan will sell and display their collections throughout the evening.

Local DJs Super Dre and AB will provide the soundtrack for the event.

Rooftop Cocktail will take place from 7-10 p.m., followed by an after party at Bar Divani

Presented by Hilliard and her company, To The Top Media, with co-producers Aly Nauta and Racheal Floyd, Rooftop Cocktail follows last year’s successful Rooftop Couture event, which drew 600 attendees to the Ellis parking garage.

“It's similar, because it’s a part of the Rooftop Culture series — designed to uplift West Michigan's creative class,” Hilliard said. “We want to give it a platform in order to shine on the highest level possible. How much higher can you uplift someone than a rooftop?

“It's different, because last year the fashion show was an event to highlight designers, stylists and models. This year, we're celebrating art, cocktails and fashion. We're highlighting the bartenders as artists themselves, instead of just letting them play the background like at most events.”

The event will benefit local nonprofit the Creative Youth Center.

The CYC prepares Grand Rapids Public School students by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices. At the CYC, kids become published authors, leading to a strong sense of identity and an enthusiasm for learning. All programs are free for all students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Hilliard is expecting 500 attendees and said VIP tickets for the event have already sold out, but general admission tickets remain.

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