SWIG ‌ Cypress 

CYPRESS167 East Bay St.
Bar opens daily at 5 p.m.

At Cypress, the change to big bottles happened so seamlessly, I didn't notice until an hour after I'd arrived. Perhaps that's because Cypress has always been a big bottle nirvana with its wall-o-wine, which features over 4,500 bottles and dominates the view from the upstairs bar.

"Well, there has not been a mad rush for a Mai Tai," say bartender Suzanne Weber, a veteran of some of Charleston's classier bars, when asked about the effects of free pour. According to Weber, the Lavender Martini is still top seller at Cypress. Shots of Grand Marnier and tequila crop up from time to time, but the crowd here is a little more reserved, she explains.

Other standouts on the drink menu include the Flirtini — Stoli Raspberry, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and champagne ($6.50); Coming Up Roses — Stoli Raspberry, rosewater, lime juice, and champagne ($6.50); Grandma's Cosmo — Grey Goose L'Orange, Grand Marnier, and lime juice ($12); the Pink Panther — amaretto, vodka, Grenadine, and cream ($7); Yellow Cab — Navan, pineapple juice, and lime juice ($7.75); and the Duval-Leroy Rose de Saignee ($12).

Even on a slow midweek evening, it is clear that patrons of Cypress, who are mostly young people dressed for a night on the town, are out for the art of cocktailing. You can belly up to one of a dozen seats at the bar, but don't dare bare your belly at this trendy spot where decorum — and top shelf liquor — is firmly in check.

The changing color of the inset floor light is the closest this establishment comes to nightlife stimulation and the lone novelty tends to elicit chirps of "oh, cool!" from the couples out for a romantic evening. The curved bar, which seemingly floats about the restaurant's first floor dining room on the mezzanine, is an excellent layout for scanning the scene. Indeed, people-watching leads the list of Cypress' charms.

"I'm a social person," says Weber. "I love that when you are behind the bar, you can influence someone in a positive way. You can change someone's mood for the better."



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