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Meet Corrie Scully and Renie Schoenkerman of MiddleBar in Inglewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Corrie Scully and Renie Schoenkerman.

Corrie and Renie, please share your story with us. 
MiddleBar didn’t start off as a business. It began in 2007, in the middle room of our shotgun style apartment, where we built an amazing library bar with a beautiful redwood pub table as the centerpiece for people to stand and engage. It was our space to gather with loved ones to enjoy cooking, cocktailing and listening to excellent music in the comfort of our own home. Our speakeasy style allowed people to drop in anytime for food, drink and our particular brand of hospitality.

Ironically, several years later, this same approach became the foundation for what is now MiddleBar Dinner Parlour and Bruncherie. Our friends were the force that inspired us to pursue it and, in fact, they were the ones who jokingly named us MiddleBar. They even created a place on Facebook for check-ins, so occasionally, we’d even get calls asking what our hours of operation were.

Eventually, we evolved into a food lab and blog, then later, transitioned into a cocktail and catering service, and finally, developed a product line centered around our ever-popular MiddleBar Mary.

A word about Marys. We were both bartenders in our 20s and always on the hunt for the best Bloody Mary, which wasn’t easy to find. While living in Chicago, Renie honed her Bloody Mary-making craft, while Corrie earned her chops in New Orleans where drinking is a whole other art form. It was during 2009, Saints Superbowl season that Corrie finally perfected the Mary recipe and we knew our hunt for the finest Bloody Mary on the planet was over.

The following year, we graduated to making liter-sized batches and really started seeing the potential after going through two or three every Sunday. With prodding from friends, the next season we started selling gallon growlers of MiddleBar Mary.

We then, began exploring ways to extend our offerings. Corrie attended Pickling Academy and developed a collection of Pickled Cocktail Accoutrement. This was the kickoff for the official launch of our product line. Initially, we focused on selling at farmers markets throughout LA but now, we’re finding our way with our first brick and mortar location. So, what started as a private underground supper club and boutique cocktail catering service, has become the MiddleBar Dinner Parlour and Bruncherie on Market in Inglewood.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Cash flow is a challenge, but we’ll be fine as long as our energy holds out. But, if we had it to do over again, we wouldn’t change a thing. A hobby we both loved has transformed into a profession. And, as they say, if you’re doing what you love, then you’re doing it right!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We specialize in craft “mocktails” using fermented spirits as the base ingredient in our Farm Fresh Cocktail line. We’ve succeeded in developing an innovative process that enhances fermented (non-distilled) spirits naturally by infusing a cornucopia of fresh herbs, fruits, and botanicals, to create deeper, more complex flavor profiles. Our original MiddleBar Mary was honored with the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Bloody Mary Festival and now we’re working on co-packing to supply larger venues like The Forum, LAX and the new Los Angeles Stadium. What started as a private underground supper club and boutique cocktail catering service, has become the MiddleBar Dinner Parlour and Bruncherie on Market in Inglewood.

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