Meet Your Bartestants

Eight bartestants representing various bars throughout Oakland prepare to duke it out behind the bar to see who can make the best cocktail in the 2022 Town Throwdown Championship.

Tickets on sale now through May 6th here.

Who’s Team Are You On? From Top Left to Bottom Right; Pennylane Taylor, Katherine Parsons, Corina Seligman, Jae Daaboul, Francisco Carranza, Trung Nguyen, Julian Arreola, Michael Tran.

Oakland is the middle of hosting the Fourth Annual Oakland Cocktail Week May 2-8, 2022 in celebration of the city’s unique cocktail heritage as well as local spirits, small businesses and employees. Participating bars and restaurants representing 15 different neighborhoods throughout Oakland are slinging specialty cocktails throughout the week.

To culminate the week’s festivities, Sobre Mesa and Dos Hombres Mezcal will be hosting the annual Town Throwdown competition on May 7th, 2022 from 12 - 3 pm. The competition is an opportunity for Oakland’s OG’s and Newcomers to go head-to-head in a friendly cocktail making competition. Taking cues from Sobre Mesa’s owner’s, Chef Nelson German, experience as contestant on Top Chef Season 18, they are going to be adding a twist to this year’s competition - the bartestants don’t know what the ingredient they have to work with is. DUN, DUN, DUUUUNNN!!! The secret ingredient will be revealed during the competition and the bartestants will have to think quickly to come up with a cocktail that is balanced, creative and desirable.


  • Pennylane Taylor, representing Drexl. Pennylane hails from Chico, CA. She came to the Bay Area because of her love of art. She accidently fell into bartending while being a server and coverage was needed. It was love at first pour. 14 years later she is still at it & in love with the industry more than she ever intended. Most days you can find Pennylane behind her home bar, Drexl. Other times you can find her rooting for the A's at Fort Green or in the Telegraph Room behind the bar sharing stories at the infamous Fox Theater. No matter where you find her, it will mostly likely be with a smile and a pour of mezcal.

  • Katherine Parsons representing Fort Green. Katherine is a Bay Area native, but Oakland is home. She loves all of the animals and all of her friends. Bartending isn’t just a job, but it's become an act of love for her Taking care of people and showing them kindness and grace is something that fills her heart with joy. When she’s not behind one of the 3 bars where she works, she likes to hang out with friends, be outside or travel places and embrace life. Her favorite cocktail is a daiquiri and anything that is smoky.

  • Corina Seligman representing District. Corina has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years working behind every kind of bar possible between the Bay Area and New York City. She found her passion for sake and working with Japanese ingredients when she worked as bar manager at Ozumo Oakland, which housed the largest sake selection in the East Bay. This experience brought her to the attention of Empire Merchants liquor distributors in New York City where she was hired as the company’s first and only sake specialist where she worked exclusively with the Joto Sake portfolio as well as Empire’s extensive fine wines collection. Since moving back to the bay area in 2018, she has served as lead bartender and social media manager at District Oakland, which celebrated its 10th year in business this spring. She loves working with spirits and wines as well as being a part of her native Oakland’s vibrant nightlife, but her absolute favorite part of working behind the bar is helping her guests find that exact right drink and seeing the satisfied look on their faces when they take their first sip.

  • Jae Daaboul, representing The Miranda. Jae is a creative and driven cocktail mind, purveyor of wry wit and quiet charm, labeler of all things labelable, and proud owner of a bear-drawn sleigh, Jae Daaboul has been etching his name on both sides of the Bay, notably East Bay Spice Co, Nightingale Bar, and most recently, The Miranda.

  • Francisco Carranza, representing Viridian. Francisco Carranza is an Oakland native, writer and self-proclaimed boyish ingenue bartender has worked at some of the top bars and restaurants in the Bay Area. When not providing spectacular hospitality and the occasional Mae Westian quip, he’s whining and praising literature and movies on instagram while flirting and cruising the feral streets of Oakland for all the boys, ladies and non-binary morsels. He’s always ready to share a story and serve up a luscious libation to any thirsty guest.

  • Trung Nguyen, owner and representative of Co Nam. Trung is 1st Generation Vietnamese Immigrant. Trung Nguyen left Vietnam at 6 yrs old with his parents and siblings chasing the American Dream. It took three attempts, each more terrifying than the previous. Imagine a 6 year old boy, strutting his thang…leading the pack of refugees with the guide as they trek through the jungles of Vietnam seeking freedom-the shinny streets of I ❤️ NYC. Then imagine being dragged by your arms and told to shut up and keep calm or else they’ll snap your neck because the Viet Cong are patrolling. Fast forward a few months…then to 4 years behind the barbwire fence of a Thai refugee camp. Finally sponsored by an amazing Canadian Family, Trung and his family were flown to Regina, Saskatchewan Canada. Years passed, lessons learnt, Trung graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2002, and after 18 years..became an American. Trung has been a builder and restauranteur since 2005. His passion is people and their stories. The food and drink is a vessel to their souls…their life stories.

  • Julian Arreola, representing Sobre Mesa. Chicago native, turned Oakland local. He takes every moment possible to celebrate life through food and beverage.

  • Michael Tran, representing Oeste. Mike Tran has over a decade's worth of experience in the hospitality industry. Having worked all over the Bay, you can now find him at Oeste in Oakland. Inspired by everything that crosses his palette, he isn't afraid to innovate familiar classics. Mike is eager to learn new techniques and flavor profiles, and hopes to learn a lot from his first time competing!

Buy your tickets before it is too late!