Meet The Two Bartender-Bakers Who Are Smashing The Patriarchy One Drink At A Time

Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth are serving up cocktails and cake with a side of female empowerment.

When Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth opened their bar and bakery Butter & Scotch in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, they knew they wanted it to be a fun, cool, hip place where people could be a little silly. Just over two years later, their bar can be described in many of those terms: It's still cool. It's still hip. It's still a little silly. But with the unanticipated infusion of Kave and Landreth's personalities into their business, Butter & Scotch has also become the feminist hub and go-to meeting spot of lady bosses in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The two met at an artisan and food market in Brooklyn. Landreth was selling mini cupcakes, Kave, pies, before they teamed up and created the idea of Butter & Scotch. The joint venture started as a booth at that same market, but with the help of some small investors, a business loan and some crowdfunding, they were able to open their current brick-and-mortar location. 

They hired bakers and bartenders. And the people they hired to mix their cake batter and stir their cocktails Landreth and Kave both noticed were people who has similar values and similar beliefs to the two of them. 

"It was sort of a natural progression because that's just who Allison and I are," Landreth said. "And then all of a sudden, we had this group of people who were all kind of really into the sort of feminist agenda."



Allison Kave, left, and Keavy Landreth, founders of Butter & Scotch. Photo courtesy of Butter & Scotch, Molly Landreth & Jenny Riffle
Allison Kave, left, and Keavy Landreth, founders of Butter & Scotch. Photo courtesy of Butter & Scotch, Molly Landreth & Jenny Riffle

While not every person who works at Butter & Scotch is female, Kave believes that because the first managers hired were women, it created a professional space where women could feel comfortable expressing their values, especially in an industry that remains male-dominated and male-centric. 

"It's just that those are our values and without being dogmatic about it, it sort of naturally evolved that way," Kave said. 

That evolution, though, was gradual. Landreth described their first efforts to infuse more of their values into their business as "putting it out there, but kind of tippy-toeing around it." They started writing "f-" and stenciling vaginas on cakes, but it wasn't until after the November presidential election that they started really to own the growing feminist side of their business's personality. 

"It was very hard for us to just go back to posting pictures of cake and pretend like we weren't crying in the walk in," Kave said. "We felt so much rage and disappointment, and there was a real period for us of mourning here. Very quickly, this sort of community coalesced and we were having lengthy heart-to-hearts with our regulars about how we were feeling about everything that was happening."

Last winter, as the staff was developing the bar's seasonal cocktail menu, a bartender and their brand manager were discussing that for one drink on the menu, a portion of the proceeds could be donated to charity. Kave and Landreth decided to go "balls to the wall" as Landreth described it and have all $1 from all the cocktails on the winter menu be donated to Planned Parenthood and sport feminist or women-themed names. In January, their seasonal "Winter of Women" menu featuring cocktails such as "Smash the Patriarchy," "Michelle 2020," and "This Pussy Grabs Back" was released. 

"From the moment we put up the Winter of Women menu, people swarmed our space," Landreth said. "It was one of the busiest nights we've ever had."

The This Pussy Grabs Back cocktail at Butter & Scotch. Photo courtesy of Butter & Scotch, Liz Clayman
The This Pussy Grabs Back cocktail at Butter & Scotch. Photo courtesy of Butter & Scotch, Liz Clayman

In an industry where it was once advised that you keep politics out of business, Kave and Landreth found that the more of their values they put into Butter & Scotch, the more positive feedback they received from their customers. 

"I think we're in a climate where people are sort of over non-transparency, and the more transparent you can be, the more people enjoy that," Landreth said. "From what I've found, businesses do better when they know who they are and don't care what anyone else thinks."

Since the launch of the Winter of Women menu, Butter & Scotch has been able to donate a little over $2,000 to Planned Parenthood and has partnered with other local businesses to host nights where donations from the drinks are doubled. In February, when a local teacher asked them if they would be interested in hosting a night to encourage others to write or call their Congressperson, they supplied pink, plastic phone receivers that would plug into a smartphone and rewarded anyone who made a call in the bar with a shot. Kave remembers so many were packed into the bar, which normally seats 30, that people were using the wall in order to have a flat surface on which to write postcards.

In March, when their staff wanted a way to honor International Women's Day, they closed the bar during the afternoon to allow them to attend the local rally and then reopened later for anyone who needed a drink afterward. While they aren't sure which charity they will pick, the staff has already started discussing the LGBTQ-themed drinks will be on their spring cocktail menu that will continue the donation tradition of the Winter of Women menu. 

Photo courtesy of Butter & Scotch, Liz Clayman
Photo courtesy of Butter & Scotch, Liz Clayman

Kave hopes that for their clients, Butter & Scotch can be "a place to come in and just feel your feelings," and she believes the bar is perfectly in line with the trend of people being more aware of the genuine need for self-care and indulgence sometimes.  

"We wake up every morning and get a news alert that makes us want to rip our hair out and you just have to find some balance somewhere," Kave said. "I think people started coming to us for that and we realized that's what we were."

But she remains grounded in her and Landreth's initial desires to create a place that's cool and hip and silly.

"We're a cocktail and dessert bar," Kave said. "We don't have delusions that we're changing the world. We're just trying to do our part."

More From A Plus

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.