The Top PR Firms in Nightlife & Dining

To succeed at the highest level of hospitality in 2024 means being always on—and the PR firms driving the conversations about nightlife and dining have adapted to this new landscape.

Read More

Despite rising economic challenges in the aftermath of an industry-crippling pandemic, the resurgence of hospitality around the country is proving that restaurants and nightlife are more important than ever. They are important because they nourish people, both physically and mentally, and create escapes. They are important because they drive the culture. They are important because they show that creative small businesses can change the cities they inhabit.

To succeed at the highest level of hospitality in 2024 means being always on. It’s about constantly finding the intersection of eating, drinking and entertainment. It’s about understanding that restaurants and nightlife should take center stage at everything from world-class music festivals to the most prominent sporting events. It means knowing that the difference between getting by and thriving could be a TikTok video or a campaign that gets the attention of a celebrity. It means taking on more roles than ever to create cultural moments and unforgettable experiences.

So obviously, the PR firms driving the conversations about dining and nightlife in America have adapted to this new landscape. 

Mona Creative is just as adept at making s’mores hot chocolate go viral on social media as lining up TV appearances for chefs and cookbook authors. Alchemy books talent for high-profile events like Miami’s Carbone Beach and secures national press to announce these extravaganzas. Hanna Lee Communications uses its PR acumen to help restaurants get on a crucial best-of list and then works to bring in liquor clients for a party to celebrate that list. CARVINGBLOCK’s PR and curation is a big part of the Coachella music festival becoming an annual food-and-beverage destination. A veteran firm like Hall PR knows how important it is to generate your own business. Want PR clients from Japan? If you’re Hall, you sort out licensing deals for them to open in New York City.

If you’re good at repping dining and nightlife, your skill set can translate into many other successes, like a viral campaign for a spirit collaboration with Doritos or clients receiving venture capital investments. Matt Brooks of Alchemy, for example, calls what his firm does “brand enhancement” because it’s about crafting a multi-pronged formula for success.

Saying you love what you do is a cliché, and all of the PR professionals on this honor roll were too savvy to tell us this during their conversations with Observer. But they made it clear that—like opening restaurants, bars and nightclubs—hospitality PR is a passion-driven and mission-driven business. You have to love what you do when you choose a career where you never stop working for clients who are evolving to survive in an often low-margin business. But as Hanna Lee says, sometimes you take a moment and realize that your clients have positively altered the way people eat, drink, gather and celebrate. So, you keep figuring out new ways to help them do so.

Visit our Power Index to view the entire 2024 PR Power Series.


When VIPs in Miami for Formula One weekend left Carbone Beach to extend their partying at the E11even nightclub, Alchemy founder Matt Brooks had every reason to be amped. Brooks (who postponed his wedding the previous year so his agency could be part of the first Formula One weekend in Miami) was front-and-center, with Alchemy repping both Carbone Beach and E11even during one of the wildest weeks in Miami history.

But Alchemy, whose clients include Catch, Lucali, Arizona Beverages and the Setai, has a reach far beyond big Miami weekends.

“I didn’t just want to be another Miami PR agency,” Brooks tells Observer. “I wanted to be a great agency based in Miami, a city that’s on fire and only going to get bigger and better. Our clients are actively getting booked on CNBC, Good Morning America, the Today show, Bloomberg. We’re doing all that from a Miami office. You don’t have to be in New York to be a great agency.”

Beyond getting hospitality companies local and national press coverage, Brooks liaises with celebrities (including Shane Battier, who collaborates with Alchemy on his annual charity event), advises clients like Black-owned Le Fête du Rosé (which secured investment from Constellation Ventures after working with Alchemy), creates dinners with top spirits brands for high-net-worth individuals and books talent for star-studded events like Carbone Beach and Wayne Boich’s Art Basel party.

“We never called Alchemy a PR agency,” says Brooks, whose events team recently did production for the opening of Tilman Fertitta’s Mastro's Ocean Club in Miami and got Don Julio, Seminole Hard Rock and E11even involved in festivities that celebrated Udonis Haslem’s jersey retirement. “We’ve always called it brand enhancement. Our company now consists of about 50 percent of our clients being clients in the PR side, 25 percent being social media and the other 25 percent being events or partnerships.”


Max Block’s forward-thinking LA-based agency constantly finds the intersection of hospitality and culture with clients like mega-developer Rick Caruso’s food-and-beverage portfolio, high-profile restaurants (Burgette, Caviar Kaspia), nightlife players (Mars and the forthcoming Zouk LA) and the Coachella music and arts festival. 

For Coachella, CARVINGBLOCK works on PR, curation, VIP activations and execution of sponsorship deals with a dining lineup that has featured everyone from Roy Choi’s Kogi to Michelin-starred Sushi by Scratch Restaurants. After lining up a deal for a West Hollywood outpost of Paris mainstay Caviar Kaspia, CARVINGBLOCK was involved in everything, including the buildout, design, staffing and events with fashion brands (Gucci, Versace) at the new restaurant.

CARVINGBLOCK, which also reps prominent food festivals (Los Angeles Times Food Bowl, Tenderfest) and has worked with Amazon Studios on activations like an invite-only Saltburn dinner and awards-season gifting that included food from The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, is now creating its own in-house space for soirées.

“We’re finalizing a physical space dubbed Maison Citrus because the company considers itself an epicurean maison,” Block tells Observer. “So in the same way that you think about a fashion brand that has their pillar of Balenciaga or Chanel or whatever it is, underneath those pillars are their comms strategy, content creation, event fabrication and production. We’ve become a 360 agency that not only spearheads the communications aspect. but also every piece, including branding and all the other aspects of what a restaurant life cycle looks like.”

Block, a self-declared schmoozer often at scenester spots like the Wheelhouse estate, Chateau Marmont and Little Beach House Malibu, knows that a Hollywood mindset is important in hospitality PR.

“Every hospitality brand should think about itself as an entertainment brand, and every entertainment brand should think about itself as a hospitality brand,” he says. “And in doing so, we have active relationships with everyone from Amazon Studios to Hulu to Coca-Cola. We’ve really become this microcosm of where celebrity culture meets food culture.”


Hall PR

“I started the company in 1996, and it has been all hospitality all the time,” Steven Hall tells Observer. “I never veered from my path of being a restaurant person. It’s not exactly the most profitable PR client to have because the operating costs are so extreme. So I always tell everybody, ‘If you want to make great money in PR, go work for pharmaceutical companies. But if you love hospitality, then come and work for me.’”

Hall is a publicist who instills loyalty. Prolific restaurateur Simon Oren has been with Hall PR from the start, and Hall has repped Alicart’s Jeffrey Bank at restaurants, including Carmine’s, for over 25 years. 

After a lunch meeting in early 2011 with David Bouley that took an entire afternoon, Hall struck a deal to do PR for the pioneering chef’s Brushstroke. The success of that omakase destination, which opened later that year, helped Hall PR become the agency of choice for prominent Japanese restaurants in New York. (Hall also became known as the “Bouley whisperer.”)

Hall, who has an office in Tokyo, reps two Michelin-starred Sushi Noz (expanding to Los Angeles) and spearheaded deals for the New York debuts of Tempura Matsui, Harbs and E.A.K. Ramen. At the same time, Hall PR continues to impact many facets of NYC dining with clients like Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya’s empire-building Unapologetic Foods
“I never went on a traditional route,” Hall says. “I didn't represent a lot of Food Network chefs. I didn't represent a lot of French chefs. I represented a lot of people that had unique stories to tell.” 

Hall is grateful for relationships that have opened doors. He says his career wouldn’t be where it is without the mentorship of Oren. He credits chef Pichet Ong for introducing him to Mazumdar before the birth of Unapologetic Foods.

“The messaging of Unapologetic has just skyrocketed,” Hall says of a restaurant group that’s been celebrated for its focus on uncompromising cooking and untold stories. “Now, every time I see the word unapologetic being used to describe a television show or a fashion brand, I pat myself on the back just a little bit. I really think that we had a hand in doing that, in that word having that kind of a meaning.”

Steven Hall Hall PR

Hanna Lee Communications

When Esquire threw its most recent Best New Restaurants in America party at Cafe Carmellini, you wouldn’t have been wrong to say it felt like a Hanna Lee Communications party. HLC, run by Hanna Lee and Michael Anstendig, had three clients (Torrisi Bar & Restaurant, Cafe Carmellini and Miami’s Erba) make Esquire’s list. Through sponsorships secured by HLC, spirits clients Powers Irish Rye, Woody Creek Distillers (which just debuted a William H. Macy whiskey), Empirical and Tōkki Soju poured at the party.

A force in the cocktail world, founder Lee (the only publicist in Drinks International’s Bar World 100) reps the annual World’s 50 Best Bars list and buzzing New York drinking destinations like Sip & Guzzle, Shinji’s, the Portrait Bar and Jimmy. HLC has also generated attention for far-flung bars like Brother Wolf in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Hero in Nairobi, Kenya. And the firm recently tapped respected food-events producer Caryl Chinn as its West Coast director.

Beyond their PR work (which includes collaborating with PepsiCo’s team on an Empirical x Doritos campaign that went viral with nearly 8 billion media impressions), Lee and Anstendig are community-minded hospitality professionals who’ve created travel scholarships that enable bartenders to attend global cocktail events. They also host the Hospitality Forward podcast, which allows restaurants and bars without PR representation to hear tips about how to pitch journalists directly from the journalists. HLC’s digital studio has filmed events like Esquire’s Best New Restaurants bash and Observer’s Nightlife + Dining Power List party. Lee, who is HLC’s editor-in-chief, is also spearheading a books division.

“Innovation in brand-building and giving back to the community as part of our mission is very important,” Lee tells Observer. “Most importantly, we value relationships. It’s not about the numbers or size. It’s all about the quality. It’s about clients who have the ambition of changing the world. And when you look at our client list, you see that they’ve changed how we eat, drink, travel and socialize.”

Hanna Lee Photo by Eric Medsker

Mona Creative

Ilana Alperstein and Eva Karagiorgas co-founded Mona Creative in 2015 and have built a formidable firm that’s evolved along with its clients. The agency started working with David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants seven years ago. Then, during the pandemic, Mona Creative helped Momofuku launch consumer-packaged goods, including chili crunch.

Alperstein (previously a vice president at Baltz & Co) and Karagiorgas (who worked at major advertising agencies before joining Food Republic and Bon Appetit) pride themselves on running a multi-pronged agency that generates attention through traditional legacy media and social media. One recent social win was the $10 s’mores hot chocolate at Oliver Zabar’s scoop shop Glace, going viral after Mona Creative got influencers to post about the decadent treat. The attention directly led to Glace collaborating on a beverage with Britney Spears

In addition to handling campaigns for bestselling cookbook authors (Claire Saffitz, Samin Nostrat), booking influencer talent at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s FoodieCon and recently signing IMG’s Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival, Mona Creative keeps bringing in hospitality powerhouses like the Dinex Group’s Michelin-starred Joji, Mina Group (which will make its New York City debut with Bourbon Steak) and Peter Luger Steak House (which just expanded to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas).

Alperstein and Karagiorgas, with employees who worked for Shondaland, Eleven Madison Park and Daniel Boulud’s PR team, are known for a hands-on approach about developing a brand as much as promoting a restaurant. When Mona Creative helped longtime client Michael Stillman open Quality Branded’s Bad Roman, which quickly became a buzzing TikTok-famous destination in the Shops at Columbus Circle, there were many conversations about the menu.

“We worked really closely with Michael for months leading up to the opening,” Alperstein tells Observer. “We argued about the size of the pepperoni cups. We had back and forths because we wanted to make sure that it was great for Instagram but also the perfect size for the dipping of the ranch. It was that level of detail.”

Eva Karagiorgas and Ilana Alperstein Mona Creative

We noticed you're using an ad blocker.

We get it: you like to have control of your own internet experience.
But advertising revenue helps support our journalism.

To read our full stories, please turn off your ad blocker.
We'd really appreciate it.

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

Below are steps you can take in order to whitelist on your browser:

For Adblock:

Click the AdBlock button on your browser and select Don't run on pages on this domain.

For Adblock Plus on Google Chrome:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Enabled on this site.

For Adblock Plus on Firefox:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Disable on

Then Reload the Page