“If you are a member of the press/blogger/other media type person you are not permitted to write about our location or our operation in any way shape or form.” That was the first rule people who scored a reservation at DC speakeasy Hummingbird to Mars were required to abide by. Washington Post spirits writer Jason Wilson, whose job is to help Washingtonians drink better, publicized it anyway. Now the project is shutting down and DC drinkers have one fewer place to go for an outstanding cocktail. Bravo, Mr. Wilson.
(Serious ethics question: Is this not akin to reporting something a source explicitly asked to be off the record?)
The Best Bites Blog has the story here. Check out the video for an intriguing cocktail technique: using sous vide to infuse a liquor with spices, the airtight seal preventing any damage to the alcohol. That’s something I’d like to try.
Update: Jason Wilson clarifies in the comments that the real reason the speakeasy is shutting down has to do with the organizers’ busy schedules, not his column. So I apologize to him for getting that wrong (and for assuming the Washingtonian blog knew what it was talking about). He also says:
No, it’s actually nothing like a source asking for a conversation to be off the record. The rules clearly stated that if I chose the break those rules, I might be “unwelcome” in the future. The same as if I chose to show up 45 minutes for a restaurant reservation, my table might be given away. Hummingbird to Mars is free to make me “unwelcome” at future events.
I’m not sure I buy that just attaching consequences to breaking an informal NDA makes it acceptable to do so. Unethical? Perhaps not. A dick move? Absent the permission or tacit approval of the bar, certainly.