Fresno Beehive

This cognac gets a bad rap. So this bar owner is hosting an event in its honor

Hennessy will the drink of choice at Kocky’s Bar and Grill for the Positive Hennergy art show Dec. 7. The event is a one-night collaboration between downtown restaurant and Sam Hansen.
Hennessy will the drink of choice at Kocky’s Bar and Grill for the Positive Hennergy art show Dec. 7. The event is a one-night collaboration between downtown restaurant and Sam Hansen. File

Michael Smith isn’t above leaving a bar because they don’t serve Hennessy.

Especially when the brand name is out of a bartender’s mouth before Smith has a chance to order.

It has happened.

“My friend and I went to Old Town Clovis, walked into the bar, the bartender stared at us dead in the eyes and said, ‘We don’t serve Hennessy,’ ” Smith said in a promo video for Positive Hennergy, the art show homage to the famous cognac, happening Dec. 7 at Kocky’s Bar and Grill.

The event is a collaboration between Smith, who owns the downtown Fresno restaurant, and Sam Hansen, who is known for creating these kind of one-night-only, pop-up events (see: Hella Ninja, Powamekka Cafe and Big Pappa’s Cafe).

Hansen and Smith bonded over their anti-Hennessy stories.

“I ordered Hennessy. The bartender replied, ‘We don’t serve that here. We don’t want that type of crowd,’ ” Hansen said in an interview with FresYes.

For Hansen, that kind of crowd grew up listening to their favorite rappers referencing the pricey liquor. Indeed, the hip hop community has long embraced the French cognac. According to the culture section of the company’s website, that connection made Hennessy the most mentioned alcoholic drink in all of music history.

There are more than 1,000 songs that mention “Henny” in some form.

More than 25 have Hennessy right in the title.

And the company repays the love. Hennessy was a presenting sponsor of Nas’ film documentary “Time is Illmatic.”

Hennessy (2)

“We are calling the event Positive Hennergy because we want only Henny drinkers in attendance,” Hansen told FresYes. The entrance fee is a $9 shot of the drink.

Kocky’s will reserve (and use) its right to not serve anyone who doesn’t drink Hennessy.

Those who do will have access to food and drink specials. There’s Henny Slurpees, Henny Apple Butter Chicken Wings, Hennessy-flavored gummy bears and cookies, and something called Hennchata, which one assumes is Hennessy-flavored Horchata.

And because it’s Hansen, there will be themed T-shirts, hat designs and art.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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