Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern is not a tavern.
It’s not a community cocktail spot either, at least not in the traditional sense. What it is, however, is a picture-perfect mobile bar that traverses the Hudson Valley to pour libations for revelers of the region. An Instagrammable delight from every angle, the bar began its life as a 1987 Chaparral Horse Trailer.
It wasn’t until Kaitlyn Iannuzzi scouted the rig on Facebook Marketplace that it was reborn into the one-of-a-kind roving bar that it is today.
The inspiration for Nuzzi’s came to Iannuzzi back in June 2018. As a bartender for more than 15 years, Iannuzzi long aspired to own her own business. In her former life, she pursued a Masters in nuclear medicine before following her heart and switching gears to bartending in 2006. Although she had previously considered a physical bar location in the Hudson Valley, she adapted her idea after falling for the beautiful wedding venues in the region.
“One day I was driving home and was thinking about all of the gorgeous barn weddings I had been to in the recent years,” she says. “[I] thought of how different it would be to have a mobile bar.”
After acquiring the Chaparral trailer from an Ulster County horse owner, Iannuzzi began the arduous journey to transform the rig — which she dubbed Annabelle — into what is now Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern. It took two months of work with a welder to remove the metal from the vehicle and open the side for bar service and to accommodate two bartenders inside. Once complete, she commenced the solo project of sanding, priming, and painting Annabelle to save money and ensure that the design was to her exact standards. Did we mention she did all this while raising three children?
“I would go out in 38-degree weather, all bundled up, and get to work on Annabelle on my days off from work,” she recalls. She finished that stage, then worked with one of her husband’s friends to update the interior for use as a bar. Adding electricity, cabinets, a sink, and refrigeration took close to three months, but it was worth the effort. After commencing the project in September 2018, Iannuzzi was ready to roll with her rig in July 2019.
“I will never forget the night Annabelle was finally complete and we celebrated,” she reminisces. “It was the best feeling to know I had completed my goal and made my dream come to reality.”
Named after Iannuzzi herself (Nuzzi’s is a twist on her last name), Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern is available for celebrations, parties, and weddings throughout the Hudson Valley. A dry bar by nature, it caters to client requests to pour everything from cider and wine to specialty cocktails. Iannuzzi loves to personalize cocktails for events, although she’s happy to stock whatever her clients prefer.
As far as the aesthetic goes, Nuzzi’s is Pinterest-perfect and photo-ready. The interior is mostly wood, with a semi-industrial vibe from the metallic accents and dark metal hinges. Overall, the mood is slightly rustic, incredibly chic, and 100-percent gorgeous in the background of photoshoots.
Photo by Scott Roberston Photography
So how exactly does one go about renting Nuzzi’s?
It begins with the clients, Iannuzzi notes. After confirming a date and planning out drinks, she applies for a one-day beer, wine, and cider permit through the New York State Liquor Authority. She brings her own supplies for festivals and stocks serving ware and décor for private events. To promote no-waste service, she even totes along a two-line keg system. As per the nature of New York State liquor laws, Iannuzzi is unable to purchase the alcohol herself. Nevertheless, she’s happy to work with clients to determine exactly how much of each drink they’ll need for their big day.
Although Nuzzi’s in based in Orange County, Iannuzzi will travel to Dutchess, Rockland, and Ulster Counties for weddings and events. For happenings beyond 30 miles from her home base, she will travel for an additional charge. At any location, Nuzzi’s requires access to electricity (or Iannuzzi can provide a generator for a fee).
Now up and running with Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern, Iannuzzi already has her eye on expansion in the new year.
“I am big on remaining a debt-free company, so within the next year or so we will be extending our trailer family and coming up with our next unique and different mobile bar,” she enthuses. “We are so psyched and have all of the ideas for our next step.”
Nuzzi’s Tin Tavern