Two Schmucks’ Moe Aljaff Is Launching A Miami Pop-Up Bar In South Beach

Two Schmucks’ Moe Aljaff Is Launching A Miami Pop-Up Bar In South Beach

Armed with a notoriously difficult-to-obtain O-1 work visa, Aljaff explores his professional… [+] options here in the United States—starting with a Miami pop-up: The Schmucks.

The Schmucks

Moe Aljaff left his world-renowned Barcelona-based hospitality group, Schmuck or Die, in early October – just days after his award-winning “five-star dive bar” Twee Schmucks placed number seven on the 2022 World’s 50 Best Bars. . It was a bold move brought about by clashes and irreconcilable disputes with Aljaff’s venture capitalist investors, and all but one of his seven-strong team left with him.

But despite the shakeup, Aljaff (which still owns the brand for Two Schmucks and Schmucks in the United States) remains upbeat. And how could he not? Now armed with a notoriously difficult-to-obtain O-1 work visa, he is officially an “alien of extraordinary ability or achievement” with the right to explore his many professional options in the US. And with that, he’s bringing the whole gang back together to open a pop-up in Miami’s trendy Moxy South Beach.

Aptly named The Schmucks, the residency will run for two months—from February 4 to April 1 at the hotel’s Mezcalista space—and will feature ten brand new cocktails, all developed with Aljaff’s team in the Wynwood Airbnb. Share. And while this is all exciting news for everyone in the bar and cocktail communities, it’s just the beginning: Aljaff has plans to explore other American markets. Here he talks details about Miami, his new concoctions, and what’s in store for the future.

The Schmucks menu will feature ten brand new cocktails, all in… [+] Aljaff’s Miami Airbnb.

The Schmucks Two Schmucks’ Moe Aljaff talks Miami, Cocktails and Karla Alindahao: Can you talk about why you left Two Schmucks and the trouble with your investors – and can you talk about your new investors in Miami? Or is it largely self-funded?

Moe Aljaff: During the pandemic, we engaged with venture capitalists to provide financial support to Two Schmucks in what was a devastating time for the hospitality industry. They provided us with additional funds to help grow the business even further to three sites, but at some point during this process I (very) naively and foolishly relinquished my veto rights to the brand. Over the course of last year, the VCs and my former business partner started getting more involved in big business practices and decisions—which I personally didn’t believe in much—so for both parties, an exit was the only solution. The majority of our bar team at Two Schmucks left in October just after we placed number seven in the World’s 50 Best Bars Awards. However, I don’t want to dwell on what has passed. I have made many mistakes for which I have paid the price, but I have learned a lot and am ready for what is next! Before all this happened, I had already started looking at the United States as a market I really wanted to move to and work in, as so much here resonates with my approach and ethos – and I just love it. Me, Juliette and Heena (part of the original team with whom I am currently working on our new project) did a five week tour of the US last year which was so much fun and really inspiring. This new project is the beginning of our new adventure in the US and we are very excited. This residency is self-funded in collaboration with our partner Moxy South Beach and brand partners.

KA: Will the pop-up also be called Two Schmucks or will it have a different name?

MA: It’s going to be called “The Schmucks”. We do own the brand for Two Schmucks and Schmucks in the US and I feel like that’s still very much my brand, but I’d like to move on from what we did in Barcelona. I want to do something that’s just about us, but kind of simplified and more inclusive, which I feel is The Schmucks. Keeping it understated is the way forward and will also allow us to develop into more branches of the brand because the next market we are looking at is very exciting. Here in the States, I see the possibility of developing this brand into a field that is a bit outside of this industry.

Juliet Larrouy (left) and Floriane Groux have also left Two Schmucks and will join Moe Aljaff if he… [+] introduces its Miami pop-up, The Schmucks.

The Schmucks KA: What made you decide to host a pop-up in the United States? And when did this decision come?

MA: After the exit, there were a few offers that came our way right away, but we decided to take some time off, filter everything through and just breathe. After a while, some very good friends approached us to temporarily take over a space as consultants, and the idea for this hostel was born. We looked at a few different locations and Moxy South Beach made the most sense. They have been great in supporting what we want to do and allowing us to have full creative freedom.

KA: Is the pop-up a test run for a permanent launch in the United States?

MA: We’re looking at some brick-and-mortar spaces and we’re going to be looking at some places soon. Personally, I feel like I want to spend a month or two in different markets before I commit, so I think a residency like this is the perfect market research.

KA: Given your excellent reputation in the industry, you have a wealth of options in terms of choosing a location/destination. What made you decide to choose Miami?

MOM: The weather! No, mostly timing. We were ready to do something from the beginning of this year and Miami in February and March is great. A bunch of events, people and artists from all over the world are here – and with it the potential for very good collaborations. We also have very good friends here who can help us and so it only made sense. However, the weather is a big bonus for sure.

The Schmucks residency will be at Moxy South Beach’s Mezcalista space — and will last for two months,… [+] from 5 February to 1 April.

The Schmucks KA: Are the drinks going to be brand new drinks? Or will there be Twee Schmucks’ classics/favorites on the menu?

MA: All the drinks are going to be new and we are so excited about it. The majority of the R&D for this menu was done out of a small kitchen in our Airbnb in Wynwood and we truly believe this is one of the best menus we’ve ever created. The setting is certainly more romantic than practical, but when it comes to the creativity behind the drinks, it was almost a benefit for us to work closely together day and night in this apartment on these new flavors. On the menu, people can expect 10 cocktails inspired by our own cultures and flavors mixed with a hint of Miami Flair.

KA: Are there more plans for America, like Las Vegas?

MA: I hope to explore the US. I spent some time in LA working. And then after Miami I want to spend some time in New York and Austin, and then maybe Las Vegas before I decide what to call home.

KA: Do you see a difference between the American consumer and the Spanish consumer?

MOM: Yes, 1000%! The drinking habits, times, the speed at which a drink is consumed, I mean almost everything is different. That said, our sites in Barcelona used to have a good American clientele, so we’re a bit used to it.

KA: Do you adapt your new drinks to meet certain expectations given the new location?

MA: We asked ourselves when approaching this menu. When we thought about it, we felt that what we had done in the past was very much enjoyed all over the world. So we believe we can’t go wrong if we stick to our guns and do the same style of cocktails!

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