The Guangzhou bar is recognised for their in-depth guide on how to navigate business and stay afloat in the COVID-19 pandemic. By Holly Graham.

New for 2020, Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards introduced the Philanthropy Honourees. As well as the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (New York) and the COVID19 Employee Assistance Directive (Melbourne), Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou) was honoured for their admirable work in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tales of the Cocktail states that the award recognises outstanding service by an individual or institution that demonstrates outstanding commitment to the hospitality community either through direct financial support, development of charitable or educational programs, volunteering and/or leadership in philanthropy.

Considerations include:

  • Depth/breadth of reach
  • Lasting Impact in community
  • Innovation/Creativity to address an issue or need in the hospitality industry

Gary Solomon Jr., co-chair of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, announced the Philanthropy Honourees as part of the Spirited Awards digital show. Introducing the bar, he said: “Hope & Sesame shared a thoughtful guide on how to reopen safely; keep staff safe; implement strategies for cost saving during closure and decreased occupancy; how to transition to the ‘to-go’ business and alternate revenue sources. At a time where everyone felt there was no roadmap, Hope & Sesame was one of the first bars to proactively and generously share their experiences as an outline for the world to work off of and learn from.”

Back in March, the Hope & Sesame team kindly gave DRiNK permission to publish the guide. To read it, click here.

Waking up to the good news, we immediately reached out to co-founders Andrew Ho and Bastien Ciocca. Of the award, Andrew said: “We are incredibly honoured to be recognised for our efforts during the pandemic. It was a very personal experience for us trying to survive as a small business, knowing that the livelihood of our staff was in our hands. We just had to do whatever we could to stay afloat. As China was the first country to be hit with a lockdown, we knew other parts of the world would follow suit, therefore we just wanted to share as much info and tips on best practises as possible so that other small business owners wouldn’t be blindsided and could better prepare for what was to come.” 

Bastien added: “We didn’t know what to expect, as we received a call two weeks ago from Caroline Rosen – the executive director of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation – asking for some details and various pictures, but she was vague on why it was needed. I thought it may have been for a compilation of bars across the world who deserved recognition for different actions they took during the pandemic, but it’s really amazing to see Hope & Sesame listed as a winner!”

The award is thoroughly well deserved by a team who are blazing trails, having opened Italian style cafe Charlie’s last year, baijiu bar SanYou in July and are currently preparing to open a second Hope & Sesame in Shenzhen.