SWIG ‌ Tonik: Cock(tail) Fights 

The Charleston Bartender Battle
Sunday nights at Tonik, 479 King St.

The life of a bartender is anything but dull. From drunken college co-eds to all-night after-parties and free booze, these guys are living what some would call the American dream.

Since this is their working life, you may wonder what these guys do to unwind. Where do they get their kicks? For the last two Sundays, they've all been meeting at Tonik for the first Charleston Bartender Battle, sponsored by Bacardi.

The rules are pretty simple. Whoever makes the best drink, based on speed, accuracy, taste, flair, and audience response is the champ. Each bartender competes on behalf of the restaurant, bar, or club where he or she is employed. The contestants are not only judged by what they mix up but by how many people they bring out to support them. The two winners thus far are the bartenders from A. W. Shucks and Fire and Ice.

During the second round, contestants auction their drinks to the highest bidders, with proceeds going to support the Darkness to Light charity. The highest bid so far has been an incredible $350.

Winners receive a Bacardi duffel bag filled with goodies and the title of best bartender in Charleston. And if that's not enticing enough, each week's winner gets to come back for the finals and have a chance to win a fly-away for two (destination TBA), plus spending money from Bacardi.

This competition is the brainchild of Tonik's general manager Nathaniel Chamblin and Hash from Club Trio, and is hosted by Special Ed from 95-SX. Chamblin admits this is not your typical night at Tonik.

"Tonik is usually a crazy nightclub, but this competition is more laid-back with music by Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, and Counting Crows (to name a few). It's music people wanna drink to. We kinda throw Shakira out the window for the night."

With eight weeks to go, the competition's getting as stiff as the drinks. Doors open at 10 p.m., entry is free. —Laura Kelly

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