Monday, February 16, 2009

Bartender's Ball serves up cold drinks, hot girls

Much of Charlotte's young professionals are using today's holiday to recover from one of the biggest parties of the year -- Bartender's Ball 2009.

The annual party, now in its eighth year, was held at The Blake Hotel last night, and despite the economy and steep ticket price, turnout was as high (if not higher) than in past years. Organizer Rich Saner of Rock House Events told me around 8 p.m. that 1,500 wristbands had already been used and organizers were searching for more as partygoers continued to stream in. (A nice touch at the door: Girls handing out bottles of beer as people made their way upstairs to the ballroom.)

This year's party packed some international flavor into the Blake ballroom -- more than 40 area bars decorated their individual booths to look like countries from around the world. My favorites: BlackFinn Saloon's Vietnam booth with camo netting and bartenders dressed as the characters from "Tropic Thunder," and On The Roxx's mini Red Light District with gaudy chandeliers fit for an Amsterdam bordello.


The most creative use of beer cases goes to Brick & Barrel who built a pyramid to go with its Egyptian theme. (Added bonus: shots came straight from King Tut's mouth.)


But this year's best booths had more to do with the creative costuming -- and who could bare more. For Forum's Grecian booth, a scantily clad goddess gyrated alongside a Spartan warrior. Hooters girls bartended dressed as snow bunnies in their Arctic booth. The Stool Pigeons bartenders looked perfectly Parisian. And Alley Cat's bartenders get the award for best makeup -- they were dressed as Harajuku girls for the bar's Japanese-themed booth.


Update -- The official "Best Booths" for the night:

  • First place: Tie between BlackFinn (Vietnam) and On the Roxx (Amsterdam).
  • Second place: Tie between Brick & Barrel (Egypt) and Cans, who turned their booth into a British pub.
  • Third place: 1900 Mexican Grille who made their booth into a mini fiesta.








But the overall theme of the night was the free-flowing, top shelf liquor -- it is called the Bartender's Ball after all. Tight security helped keep the crowd in check despite the copious amounts of alcohol consumed, and as far as I could tell, it was a happy, not rowdy, diverse crowd (average age range: 27-35).

It's a shame that it has to end so early every year. When the music shut off at midnight and the lights came on, people started chanting "One more song!"

We were ready to continue the party into the night.

I'll be posting more pics later in the week, but in the meantime click here for more.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it normal to be hungover for 20 hours?

Anonymous said...

Just embrace it, its magical...

Jon West said...

I'm pissed at myself for not going.

Vinnie Poncia said...

Is there an annual party on the planet more overrated than this thing? The fact that no one's died due to alcohol poisoning yet is a miracle. And for 75 bucks, there better be some real entertainment - not just some clown spinning Usher and Nelly tunes. That's some weak sauce, but if "Elevate Magazine" is behind it, I've come to expect nothing less.

Anonymous said...

The girls from alley cat in the japanese goth girl outfits were really cool. They had a dance dance revolution machine also. Tropic Thunder from Black Finn was hilarious. As far as the poster that was slamming the event it was only 60 bucks and it was well worth it. As far as the alcohol poisoning comment, there was about 20 A.L.E. officers present, so apparently you are just bashing it to bash it.

Anonymous said...

in the 3rd picture down i dont see a spartan warrior like the article describes.

Meck said...

please tell me that is not black face in the first picture.

Anonymous said...

Meck, it's from the movie "Tropic Thunder." And totally hilarious if you've seen the movie.

Did the Forum become a strip club recently? Their "goddess?" would indicate so.

Anonymous said...

Great Party.....Great Food, what a great Ziti.....can't wait until next year......PS:Who did the food?

Anonymous said...

It was the event of the year...it really put new years to shame. Congrats to RockHouse Events and Elevate for all your hard work. Too bad for you Vinnie, I'm sorry you feel that way about the event but clearly, you have never been and I suggest you go next year before bad mouthing it again. Great entertainment, great friends, awesome bar set ups...I can't wait till next year!

Anonymous said...

wait...who won?

when/where are they announcing a winner?

Anonymous said...

As for the hot thang in the 3rd pic down- bless 'er heart...AND her plastic surgeon...yeeeeOW!

Sarah Aarthun said...

Anon 10:47 --

Just added the official winners to the blog.

Anonymous said...

Sure glad Zingo was there to get me and my car home that night, woke up and looked out my window and saw my car was in the driveway...i just smiled, got some bojangles and couched it all day

Anonymous said...

Food was done by Alive & The Men's Club who both did a fantastic job.

Allen Deedle said...

Alive? You mean that joint up in Noda with tumbleweeds blowin' thru it? Not trying to insult anyone, but yeah - terrible idea that had zero chance of working from day one - might as well just shovel bundles of cash into a bonfire.

Anonymous said...

You left out a word in describing an event that caters to one side.
This y'alls bartender ball, not the bartender's ball.