Elegant warehouse–two words that don’t often go together. Yet that is the best way to describe The Foundry, the setting for the third annual Aquarius Festival on January 25th, the nation’s first and only sustainable seafood festival. As you walk into the venue, you see brick walls and bare metal walkways transformed into a classy club with the help of some lighting, Instagram-able decor, and multiple bars. Food trucks and stands set up in a semi-circle in the open courtyard, with seating around a few open woodfires.
Aquarius stands out, though, with an incredible open bar of interesting cocktails and even more delectable food from a variety of ethical vendors. Some standouts included a variety of fresh oysters from the raw bar, provided by MF Events, Houseman‘s Squid with XO Sauce, and perhaps the biggest stand out: Ca’pisci with a delicious array of seafood including a spectacular swordfish skewer grilled and covered in Mint, Capers, and Lemon.
The cocktails were well prepared, drawing long lines from taste and spectacle. The Makers Mark Hickory Smoked Manhattan was especially delightful to watch and to drink. The bar staff used an actual smoker that plumed out to reveal a very nice Manhattan.
The real star of the night was Aquarius’ efforts to live up to its claim and take steps towards sustainability. Using the company Cup Zero, Aquarius was able to prevent loads of plastic waste. Cup Zero is a straightforward concept: party guests pay two dollars for a reusable plastic cup when they enter. When they leave the party, they return it and get their money back. It was easy, and more events should look into this very simple step. The booths also set out for more sustainable eating, using wood or paper containers and remaining plasticware-free. Overall, Aquarius was a great experience that showed you can throw a great event while still doing your part to help the environment.