We’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some incredible vendors over the years.
We’d like to take a moment to give some love to the amazing people behind the companies!
This week vendor spotlight we’re excited to introduce you to the amazing ladies behind Public Provisions! With Public Provisions, Melaney and Malia have created a posh, boutique style bartending service to provide gourmet, locally sourced cocktails for events and weddings.
Their passion and knowledge of their craft shines through with every gorgeously presented, hand mixed drink. By focusing on creative ways to highlight fresh, local ingredients, Public Provisions provides incredibly tasty and beautiful cocktails that elevate any event! If you’re looking for a professional, fun, and unique bartending experience, be sure to check them out! <3
Here’s a bit more about the beautiful ladies of Public Provisions, in their own words!
How did you both get into bartending?
I grew up in a really small town in Southern California. began working at the local Applebees as a server and I would watch the bartenders and I thought to myself, “these guys look like they’re having fun and making more money than the rest of us. I want to do that!” So, I took the only shift that was available: Monday mornings. It was so slow and I didn’t make very much money, but I learned a ton about organization and preparation. To this day that structure sticks with me. Fast forward 10 years and I’m designing menus for some of LA’s premier venues, including multiple outlets for The Standard Hotel.
That initiative way back in 2006 opened a ton of doors for me. I realized that each venue I worked for had something to offer – whether it be speed and efficiency, local ingredients, high-volume, etc. I learned how to blend all of those together to become a bartender with a lot of capabilities.
I got into bartending by proxy to being with Melaney. My past is in design and build, set design for entertainment, and tons of experience in all kinds of project management. When it came to growing Public Provisions, I joined the venture to take it to the next level. Plus, it was something we enjoyed working on together and turned out to be the perfect project to highlight each of our individual strengths. When Melaney and I do events together, she gets to focus her talents on menu development, sourcing, technique, and the details of bartending while I get to focus on the setup, the logistics, and the aesthetics.
For us, having a well-executed bar in all the different aspects of technique, taste, design, and operation is extremely important to provide to any client. It’s the total package. In managing growth, day to day operations, and logistics, I became part of the Public Provisions team and together we can take on and offer so much more. We’re a great pair.
What inspired you to start Public Provisions?
I (Melaney) started Public Provisions as a creative outlet. When climbing that proverbial ladder you hear a lot of “No” when it comes to using top-tier ingredients and inventive methods and techniques. And I understand why – certain businesses are looking to make the most money by spending as little as possible. Quality costs. So, in order to feel a bit saner and keep my creativity flowing, I started Public Provisions as a service for friends, backyard parties and small occasions.
My slogan is “Drinks for the People” and I firmly believe in that. Drinking is celebratory, it brings people together and I wanted to offer something that was centered around others coming together. It let me be creative for myself and friends when I felt stifled. Then it started to snowball – I went from hosting backyard parties to small weddings, then big weddings, then cocktail training classes, to developing recipes for really amazing companies that appreciated what I had to offer.
In addition to running Public Provisions, you also recently opened a bar in Portland! Tell us about it!
We opened Bar Miranda in June! It’s a small, tropical bar downtown. When approached for the project I initially said no because I wanted to hone in on the momentum Public Provisions had. I realized that it could be another great outlet for creativity and I’m a sucker for designing menus. The name Miranda is our homage to the late, great Carmen Miranda.
I wanted to have a bar that was thrilled to feature fun drinks, smiling bartenders, color and of course, fruit! Carmen Miranda showed people they could have a wonderful, fully engaged and fun time drinking and celebrating with friends. We hope to embody that as well.
What keeps you passionate about cocktails?
The Pacific Northwest! Truly. When I realized that produce here had a very specific timeline it made me stop and appreciate it. In California, you can get strawberries year round so you don’t really think of them as special. Here in the PNW, you get them for a short window and because of that the urgency to utilize them is heightened. That makes them exciting. Not to mention that the PNW grows some of THE most amazing fruit in the world. It feels special and intentional and, it keeps me on my toes finding new ways to incorporate them into drinks. I’ve learned to work with the seasons and go with nature.
What is your favorite part of bartending weddings?
The best part of weddings is watching the guests take that first sip of their drink and then smile. A lot of the wedding is focused on the couple ( as it very well should be! ) but the reason couples are hiring us is to create something delicious for their guests. Knowing that the people celebrating the wedding are being treated to something delicious makes us feel really good. We recently used arugula in a cocktail and I know there was some uncertainty and initial hesitation from guests because arugula is an odd ingredient, but it was insanely popular. Inviting people to trust you and try something new and have them receive it well feels really good.
Do you have any advice for couples as they search for wedding bartenders?
Ask them about their work history. I’ve found there are a lot of bartending companies out there who haven’t actually tended bar in a real-life public way. Knowing how to handle an array of potential issues is really paramount when it comes to delivering seamless service and you only get that experience from working behind a real bar for many years. So many things can go astray when bartending and you want an intelligent person with the know-how on staff, problem-solving for you.
What are your favorite drinks to enjoy on those warm summer days?
I make a cocktail called the Disco Nap – it’s super low ABV, refreshing and easy to drink throughout the night. It’s comprised of Aperol, lemon, St Germain, dimmi and a sour watermelon cider. It is too good. Ridiculous really.
If you weren’t creating delicious drinks, what would you be doing? For our sake, please don’t stop, this a theoretical question. 🙂
We won’t stop, don’t worry!! We are in the process of finalizing our wine label – Landmass, which will focus on sparkling wines and rose. Eventually, we want to be in the position to buy our own land, plant grapevine so we can do the ultimate job – foster pups! We are HUGE dog lovers and we really want to get to a point where we can help give dogs a better life on a big plot of land with plenty of room to roam and just be dogs.
If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Spain – hands down. Sherry, wine, tapas. My goodness, can I just teleport myself now? Plus Spain’s culture is so deep and I anticipate that no matter where you are at that moment in a new place, you’re experiencing history. Did I also mention sherry?
Describe your personal style in one sentence.
Public Provisions is timeless and highly skilled cocktail brand with an approachability that is refreshing. I’ve always said I want this brand to escape the confines of time – trends fade out, niches evolve. I hope that people can recognize us by our unwavering commitment to quality and by hiring us they can find comfort in knowing that we will absolutely give them the best service and product possible. And with that commitment to quality, they also know that we are personable and kind with a genuine concern for their experience. We want people to have fun, and we want to have fun too! We aren’t afraid to smile and we aren’t afraid to make new friends.
Do you love calling Oregon/Portland home? Tell us why! Do you share your home with any fur babies?
Oregon is amazing. I feel like we have two homes here – one deeper into the Willamette Valley and another in Portland. Both offer us amazing insight into food and beverage. The winery world in the valley is so generous with its knowledge and community, and the cocktail industry in Portland is always evolving and challenging us to create. It’s also amazing to be physically present with the land.
We have two amazing dogs – Lux and Tanner, and getting to roam fields and vineyards with them really makes me feel grounded here in the PNW. They really are our life and I want to work as hard as possible to make sure we always keep the outdoors within reach. And to always have a glass of sparkling wine within reach wouldn’t be too bad either.