Last week in Singapore, the World’s 50 Best Bars unveiled its annual list of…well, the world’s 50 best bars. Perched high amongst these tipple temples was Double Chicken Please, a two-in-one draft and craft cocktail lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Bested only by Sip in Barcelona, DCP now not only claims the title of New York’s best bar—it’s the best bar in all of the Western Hemisphere.
The honor caps off an amazing run for the three-year-old watering hole, which was already named home of the world’s best cocktail menu at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. No small measure of that success can be attributed to Tako Chang, who heads up marketing and communications for the bar.
The Taiwanese native moved to New York in 2020 specifically to help open DCP. And she has been instrumental in establishing the brand identity ever since. But beyond her role there, Chang also has taken charge of the floor, boasting a dual role as manager of front-of-house operations. We recently sat down with the talented tastemaker to find out how she manages such an intense schedule. And, of course, where the bar’s unique name came from.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Okay, so…Double Chicken Please. What?!
Tako Chang: “GN Chan, one of our c0-founders, is an industrial designer. He wanted to open a design studio. His nickname is Chicken Filet. And he was going to open it with his best friend who is nicknamed Turkey. So it’s like double poultry. And when they decided to open a bar, he said why not ‘Double Chicken Please?’ He had this name for many years—like he came up for it six years ago, when he was working as a street magician. And for people who don’t understand, it’s always a conversation starter.”
How did you get involved with the team?
TC: “GN and [co-founder] Faye Chen and I are all from Taiwan and we’ve known each other for a long time. But outside of our personal friendship, we all share the same personal vision—the same values and the same goal when it comes to business ideas. GN focuses on the creative aspect, while Faye looks after the operations and finances and manpower. We all wanted to do something more than a cocktail bar. This is really more of a design project. And I wanted to be a part of that.”
What is that vision that you all share for this particular project?
TC: “We have three main pillars. The first pillar is obviously hospitality—the guest experience. The second pillar is event curation. You see how Netflix has Netflix Original? That’s something that we’re doing as well. We plan our events where we’re bringing something more than just cocktails and put it into a package. And the third pillar is merchandise. We are actually going to launch a series of products. We’re going to have vinyl records and cocktail glasses and all of it will tell a story that represents the brand. We want to make sure that when you come to Double Chicken Please, you bring a piece of Double Chicken Please back home with you, into your daily life.”
Tell us more about the event curation.
TC: “Every event that we do, we need to bring in some design element. If we’re ever going to do any pop-up we have to duplicate this feel in another location. But it’s hard for us to recreate this somewhere else. And so pop-ups are not something that we’re focusing on. We want to expand from our industry. There must be kind of way in which art and design and drinks converge—cross-industry collaborations rather than guest shifts.
Is there anything specific on the horizon?
TC: “We’re working on a project in Los Angeles with KidSuper. So we’re really excited about that.”
How do you make sure that your popular fried chicken sandwiches can keep up with the creativity of the cocktails?
TC: “We go through so much chicken. It’s the only meat that we keep in our kitchen. And we expand our menu constantly. We just introduced a mochi donut sandwich. It has a strawberry glaze on top. And the fried chicken is coated with cornflakes. Then it’s topped with cilantro and homemade pickled pineapple. It’s delicious.”
And you have a hand in the product development?
TC: “Of course. I make sure the flavor is right, the bread is right, the sauce is right. From time to time I’m also in the line, frying the chicken sandwiches, putting them together. Everything. That’s part of the guest experience, which is what I do—coming back to everything that’s on the floor. And how do we translate that into a language that can resonate t0 consumers and represent who we are. That’s my rule here. It’s very different from what I did before. I used to do corporate brand marketing. But this is hospitality branding. So it’s similar knowledge, but totally different approaches. I love being consumer-facing.”