The Charleston scene was bursting with Mother Emanuel Fundraisers 

On the Mend

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J. Chandler Thomas

Nearly two weeks after the tragic events of Wed. June 17, it's safe to say that the Holy City is on the mend. The Charleston community certainly came together as one to send a strong statement of love and support to the families of those who were lost and the entire Mother Emanuel Church, whether it was Edmund's Oast donating 100 percent of proceeds the night after the tragedy to local musicians putting together a Pour House show. Even more fundraisers are on the way.

The folks at the Upper Deck were among those who lent a hand, and they did it in the form of a drag show. Now, I went into this thinking that they had called on more, shall we say, "professional" drag queens to showcase their talents, but queen Martina seemed to be the only professional in the place. (Adding to her many talents, Martina is also an accomplished violinist, which is not something we were really expecting.) The other performers were Upper Deck bartenders; even "Big" Mike Grabman donned a lady's sailor outfit. It's little events like this that can take your mind off of reality for a bit.

Earlier that evening, I went to the Cocktail Club for a bash celebrating their fourth birthday. Striped Pig, Charleston Distilling, and Virgil Kaine were on hand with a variety of samples. I've had most everything that Striped Pig has to offer, but I had never tried their rum, which was great, even straight up. It's got heavy notes of vanilla and what almost reminds me of my grandmother's butterscotch purse candies. As for Charleston Distilling, I've also sampled most of what they have to offer with the exception of their Jasper's Bourbon Barrel Gin. This spends 60-some odd days in a six-year-old bourbon barrel. Some are weary of gin, but I really like it, typically with pineapple juice because Snoop Dogg has never steered me wrong. That said, this was also delicious straight up. At the Virgil Kaine station, we got a lesson in bourbon. I'm not typically a huge brown water fan, but their particular brand of ginger-infused bourbon might make one out of me.

click to enlarge J. CHANDLER THOMAS
  • J. Chandler Thomas
click to enlarge J. CHANDLER THOMAS
  • J. Chandler Thomas

The event was both a celebraish for their birthday and a way to attract potential VIP members. A membership is a one-time fee of $200 and that gets you 50 percent off during happy hour, access to members-only parties, private tastings, and perhaps the greatest perk, getting to skip the line.

click to enlarge J. CHANDLER THOMAS
  • J. Chandler Thomas

On Sunday, I headed over to Warehouse to celebrate their second anniversary, which they dubbed the Summer Shindig. I'm a sucker for alliteration, so I was happy to attend. Brunch featured a White Russian menu. I opted for the Drunk Doctor, which was a mix of vodka, Frangelico, Ancho Reyes, and milk; it was garnished with cinnamon and tasted like cereal. The highlight, however, was the Wrong Way Buddy. Made of Cathead honeysuckle vodka, tropical juices, and peach-ginger-lemongrass syrup, the Buddy was potent and — the bartenders tell me — a homage of sorts to all the wrong way drivers they see on Spring Street. The folks from Holy City Hogs were there with resident hog roast master Tank Jackson. I don't know about you, but someone named Tank is just the kind of guy I want cooking my pigs.

Later on Sunday, we went to meet up with a few Chucktown Bike Down attendees at the Alley. The Bike Down didn't take place solely at the Alley, of course; it was actually at several different venues across the peninsula — HoM, Palace Hotel, Bay Street Biergarten — with attendees encouraged to bike from stop to stop. While I no longer have a bike of my own — three thefts inside of three months will do that to you — I ubered over to see the bikers that braved the evening's monsoon-like rain. They were drenched of course, but more importantly, they were bowling and having fun.

After that we went down to Burwell's to attend a benefit concert headlined by David Higgins. Manny Houston, One Kool Blow, and DJ Kevbo all donated their talents to show support to the Mother Emanuel Church. Donations were accepted, with Icebox also donating libations and bartenders for the event. It was a great little block party. Everyone had a great time, the weather was perfect, and the community was strong.


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