Robbie York (ABJ ’05) is a Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication graduate who lives in New York City and owns the official UGA venue in the Big Apple, American Whiskey. American Whiskey is the “home” of the NYC alumni chapter’s game-watching parties. In September, Robbie was recognized as a 40 Under 40 honoree by the UGA Alumni Association. We caught up with Robbie to learn more about how he’s helping foster a spirit of camaraderie and Bulldog spirit in the city that never sleeps.
How long have you lived in NYC?
Almost 14 years.
When did you open American Whiskey?
We are in the middle of our seventh year.
How long have the NYC Dawgs hosted game-watching parties at American Whiskey?
All 7 years. We hosted at another location for 6 years before that.
Did you open American Whiskey with the hope it would become NYC’s top UGA venue?
We definitely courted NYC Dawgs to come with us from a previous location. This was not only due to my affiliation and passion for the University of Georgia, but we (my partners and I) have always enjoyed the crowd and spirit of the game-watching parties. The answer is that we were hoping that the NYC Dawgs would want to be our one and only game-watching crowd, and we are proud to say they are.
How have game-watching parties grown since you started hosting them?
They have definitely grown over the years, I would say that this was due to many factors. Winning seasons help. Social media is a lot more prevalent than it used to be. We like to think that we make the party better every year. Improvements include menu changes, drink special updates, and little details (playlists, decor, etc) that add extra touches for everyone who visits.
What makes Saturdays in NYC special?
New York City is a difficult place to make it. So when you’ve had a hard week of work and the stress that goes along with it, Saturdays at American Whiskey become a place to cheer with your friends, meet other folks trying to survive in NYC, and find a common bond–which in this case is Georgia Football.
How does being a UGA alumnus impact the relationship between American Whiskey and the NYC alumni chapter?
I try my best to allow NYC Dawgs the accessibility of AW as much as possible. We offer our space for all events with no minimum, so it allows the chapter to have flexibility that very few volunteer organizations enjoy. I also work hard at using my status as an owner to leverage food and beverage brands to donate and help sponsor other events.
What’s the best part of hosting game-watching parties?
The excitement and joy that people share with each other. I love seeing people who get as excited for a touchdown as they do seeing someone in AW that they haven’t seen since college. Helping people make connections is the most special part of being there.
What’s something people might not know about NYC’s game-watching parties at American Whiskey?
We play Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” when we win, immediately after the 4th quarter. Lots of people who are here know that, however, it came about from the happy accident of the music getting stuck in our internal system, and those songs being next in line.