When you’re a single gal who gets invited to a wedding expo, it’s important to arm yourself with an ironclad backstory so as not to be the weird person taking free Jordan almonds by the scoopful. Propose to one of your friends (we met at work and it was love at first sight! we did that insufferable thing where we insisted we proposed to each other!) and make a beeline to the section of Walmart that stocks the two-in-one engagement/wedding band sets. Properly armored with a fake fiance, we ventured forth to Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant for the second NotWedding, the alternative to bridal shows.
Instead of dozens of vendors shouting ARE YOU THE BRIDE? at you and then thrusting their brochures in your stricken face, you go to a make-believe wedding that is set up just like a real one so you can get a sense of what their services look like in action and eat Coastal Crust pizza while you do it. It’s something like the tea parties seven-year-olds throw, only everything costs real money and there are no stuffed animals. They “wed” at sunset on the dock; it was slightly windy and they exchanged something resembling vows to the beats of a live rapper.
The bridal party claimed to be “professional groomsmen” but would neither confirm nor deny that they were respondents to Craigslist ads. Much like a real wedding, we returned repeatedly to the ever-lengthening bar line and declined to catch the bouquet, but unlike actual nuptials, the favors were stuff we actually wanted, like a real tree from the florists, coasters from the Jankun Creative Studio, and pimento cheese from Butcher & Bee. We strolled off into the darkening Lowcountry full of ideas for a celebration of our own fake union. NotWedding, call us! We’d be delighted to pose as the happy couple next time, and we already have our “how we met” story fully rehearsed.
Distilling the Truth
We thought the Charleston Distilling Co. was never, ever going to open. Month after month, we pressed our noses to the plate glass (so sorry to the person with the task of cleaning those windows), hoping for some clue that they’d finally grace us with whatever sweet nectar they were brewing in there. Then, lo and behold, we received an invitation to their inaugural bash and it was like the sky opened up and rained small batch vodka upon us. There’s a pretty obvious joke to be made here, but it was bigger and better than we had expected. The ceilings were high enough to be positively unCharlestonian, and all the stills and pots were large enough to swim laps in. The highlight of the architecture, though, is that the ladies room is inside a barrel. That’s right. You get to micturate within the confines of your very own kilderkin. We were excited to see fish tacos and ice cream sandwiches make their presence known, because the signature cocktails were strong enough to suggest that we were indeed getting high on our own supply. No word on whether or not this will become an Upper King watering hole or if it’ll be open for tours only, but that was some firewater we’d happily integrate into our regular drinking schedule.
Cocktail Club Third Anniversary
In the Radcliffeborough neighborhood, achieving a third anniversary makes you the Joanne Woodward and Paul Newmann of fancy cocktail bars. To celebrate their elder statesman status, Cocktail Club got the good stuff off the high shelf, made some punch, and invited everyone over to share in their good fortune. We danced to the band’s musical stylings and vogued in the photobooth with the big ole Double Standards we acquired moments after we hit the door. Everyone seemed excited about reaching the big triple i before we even hit the rooftop, where things kicked in to high gear. Other patrons were celebrating well — we could barely take photos without having shots pressed into our hands, though we think they may also have been celebrating one of their numbers’ recent divorce. Mazel tov, darling!
We wish we could say “we’re dudes, you’re a dude, we’re all dudes,” but in truth, we came as Donnie and Maude, so in fact, this was not the case. The second annual Lebowski Celebration at the Charleston Music Hall was exactly like last year’s, but in the best way possible. Evenly split between hipsters and burnouts for whom The Big Lebowski was a formative Coen experience and their “wait, what?” friends and lovers, the somewhat-costumed crowd enjoyed big laughs at Jeff Bridges’ signature “there’s a beverage here” and “the Dude abides” lines. Hey, do y’all remember when Tara Reid was really, really famous for about 10 minutes? What’s she doing now? Logjammin’? After dutifully reciting our lines in time with the actors, we wandered in our bathrobes (much to the bemusement of the non-achievers on King) to The Alley to enjoy Caucasians out of a Gatorade tower and congratulate each other on Jesus impressions well done. They gave us a discount on bowling, but it’s actually really hard to strike a spare in a kimono, so we had to beg off.
Slightly North of Spring Stroll
We finally understand how the long-term denizens of Park Slope felt when the first round of strollers hit the block. Usually, the upper-upper King area is dominated by forever residents and artsy types drinking High Lifes on their stoops, and it was a somewhat exciting/terrifying look into the future to see babies and grandparents perusing the jukebox at Rec Room during the inaugural Slightly North of Spring Stroll Saturday afternoon. Everyone from Coastal Climbing to Tivoli to Barsa opened their doors for the motley crew ambling up and down the block, showcasing what makes this the most fun place to live, work, and hang in Charleston. Sophie the Dog and Nick the Distiller led tours of Highwire Distilling Company, showing SNOSers the more creative side of sorghum and plying them with drinks to keep them mollified in the summer heat. Mr. Bonetangles and his puppetmaster, Will Schutze, put on a creepy yet charming show in miniature at Holy City Barber while we enjoyed the unmatched hospitality of proprietress Jen Sample. Aside to Jen: you should offer that cold damp towel/paper fan/ice water service for five dollars to anyone who walks by. We'd come near every day March through October. Twenty-Six Divine and Blue Heron Acupuncture stole the show though, amassing a big crowd for a pig pickin' and live music. It's not too often you see a whole hog laid out next to a holistic wellness center, but it's an eclectic neighborhood, right?