Three weeks ago on January 25th, a GoFundMe page went live for well-loved, longtime Laguna Beach bartender Adam Bernstein and his wife, Rachel. The couple has been financially beleaguered since Rachel was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer last summer.

GoFundMe Raises Nearly $40,000

The moment the link went live, it lit up the rails like a high-speed train. Now, three weeks later, and just shy of their $40,000 goal on GoFundMe, Adam and Rachel say they’ve been emotionally humbled by the overwhelming supportive community.

“Initially, it was humbling to see how generous our closest friends were,” said Adam from their home in Winchester. “But then all these people started showing up … people I’ve worked with and served for years … and people who’ve known Rachel or met her with me … even anonymous donors. We are literally blown away. The love from the community is absolutely incredible!

“We have been on a long, rough road and our family, friends and community have shown us how blessed we all are to have each other – family members, true friends, neighbors, even people we’ve met in passing – making such a lasting impression and showing care in our community. Everyone that has reached out to us – please know we are reaching back at you with open arms and the biggest hugs ever,” he said.


Big Fundraiser in San Clemente This Sunday (Feb 23rd)

Well, it’s not over yet.

This coming Sunday, Feb. 23rd, in San Clemente at Salon Bleu’s sunny courtyard, friends and family have put an afternoon fundraising party together. The event runs 1 – 5 p.m.

What started as a $5 donation event with a few gracious participants
has grown by sheer leaps.

“We thought we’d do this small little local thing and it blossomed into this rather big thing. It’s so amazing,” said Adrienne, one of the fundraiser organizers and Adam’s twin sister. “We have friends playing live music with hula dancers coming in, a raffle and silent auction, plenty of food and a tiki bar set up with beer and wine and kegs being donated from Artifex, Docent Brewing and Brewery X,” said Adrienne.

“And, of course, Adam had to create a special “love potion.” You know mixologists. You can’t stop them if you try,” she added.

Big Silent Auction Items

Silent auction items continue to roll in, including a full-day’s golfing package for four at Monarch Beach Golf Links valued at $5,000, Oats cashmere wonderfulness, high-end jewelry (including a $350 package from San Clemente’s Urba, one of my favorites), pottery and art, interior design consultations from esteemed decor queens, a $600 surf lesson package from our own Sli Dawg (Steven Chew) and more.

Superb Food & Drink

While Rocco’s, Vine, Active Culture, Cassano’s and the Sapphire Culinary Group are providing plenty of great food and drinks, many more restaurants are donating to the silent auction, including The Cellar (with many bottles and a wine club membership), Antoine’s Cafe, Sancho’s Tacos and Maison Cafe.

Used with permission from Adam Bernstein

“I think the greatest thing is that Russ (Bendel) from Vine and Chef Azmin from Sapphire are both participating at our event on Sunday, and they just announced the change in ownership between the two for the Sapphire restaurant in Laguna,” said Adam.

“They’ve both been two of the most phenomenal individuals to work for, and Russ’ move into Sapphire couldn’t be a better fit. They’re class acts, through and through,” Adam concluded.

Chef Azmin: “It’s Our Duty to Do Whatever We Can.”

“No one should go through this sort of hardship,” said Chef Azmin Gharhreman of Sapphire Culinary Group.

“Adam is such a stand-up guy. I don’t think he ever called in sick in the 11 years he worked for me. When I was running a concept on Crystal Cruises, I had the pleasure of sending Adam on those cruises as our top mixologist, and he was such a beacon of our brand.

“Adam has always been a man of his word – always supporting his wife and family – and it’s our duty to do whatever we can to make this easier and better for Adam and Rachel. We’ll be there Sunday to support in service, wine, appetizers and any auction item we can do,” continued Chef Azmin.

“But Sunday isn’t just about eating food and drinking wine.
It’s about gathering together in support of two really wonderful people
and doing what we can against this son-of-a-gun cancer,” said Chef Azmin.

“We want Adam to come out of Sunday’s event knowing that he has friends in the industry who will stick with him and Rachel no matter what. We are all big supporters of Adam Bernstein.”


Author’s note: While there isn’t a lot of room left for physical objects, silent auction gift cards, gift certificates and restaurant gift cards/chefs’ dinners are still being happily accepted. Please get these items to Adrienne Bernstein no later than Thursday afternoon at

Laguna Beach restaurants and businesses are welcome to also contact me, with donation ideas or questions.

Salon Bleu is a short block south of Avenida Del Mar on El Camino Real (next to Ollie’s Tavern),
207 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente.
The fundraising party is 1- 5 p.m.

Click here for the GoFundMe link for Adam and Rachel Bernstein

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