© Benjamin Sklar

The owner says he'll keep it running for the entirety of the Trump administration.

Noah Kaufman
April 10, 2017

Today President Trump’s approval rating, according to Gallup, sits around 40 percent—a historic low for this point in a presidency. And it has hovered just above or below that number for the entirety of his brief stint in the oval office. So when Ravi DeRossi, the owner of a number of New York’s most well-respected bars, says, “Everyone has his or her own reason for not liking the current administration,” he’s exaggerating a little bit, but he certainly has a lot of company in that sentiment.

On April 14 DeRossi will do what he can to fight back against what he sees as the president’s attacks on everything from the EPA to public education to LGBTQ rights. He is opening Coup, a bar where all the profits will be donated to causes to which the Trump administration has cut support (either financially or rhetorically). Everyone who purchases a drink at Coup will receive a token, which they can put in one of six jars that correspond to a rotating set of different organizations and charitable initiatives. 

Certainly the donation aspect will be popular in an area of New York that voted 90 percent for someone other than Donald Trump, but the drinks ought to bring people in as well. DeRossi has lined up bartenders from what reads like a who’s who list of New York’s best bars — places like PDT, Death & Co and Pouring Ribbons, just to name a few. He’s also bringing in some bonafide celebrities from the food and drink world like cocktail historian David Wondrich and Alton Brown with more set to come. DeRossi told us that lining people up to work at the bar was actually the easiest part of the whole process. “We’ve only released about 20 names so far, but we’ve already got hundreds [planning to come] in,” some from as far away as Cleveland and Seattle.   

DeRossi has committed himself to causes in the past — he operates a non-profit that fights animal cruelty called BEAST — but he admitted that the bar is as overt a political statement as he has made in his professional life. He said that after Trump’s election he reflected more on being a first generation son of Indian immigrants. “I never got into deep conversations with my parents [about the current political climate], but I just see the disappointment in their faces. I think if things were like this before, they wouldn’t have come,” he said. 

While there’s been no dearth of seemingly stunty Donald Trump protests through food and drink, DeRossi intends Coup as a semi-permanent fixture. He said that while he’s calling it a pop-up, he plans to keep it open in its current fundraising capacity “as long as the current regime is in power.”

The only thing left to wonder about is whether there could be any blowback from a president who actively seeks out and responds to slights. DeRossi laughed it off. “Yeah," he said, "I hope I don’t get audited.”