Mercedes Benz. BMW. Infiniti. Lexus. Tommy Baker’s showroom on Highway 17, or a succession of luxury vehicles parked tandem style on Woolfe Street? Both, it turns out; at least for one night.
This parade of pomp, an unusual site for the East Side, could only ever mean one thing: a SCENE takeover at restaurant Tu, which is exactly where the penultimate party took place last night. Members came together to celebrate Spoleto’s presentation of "post-modern ballet" New Bodies. Touted as the 'cool, late-night' installation of SCENE events, this party usually culls together the rowdier patrons from the group. Just ask Carter Joyce, who admitted he'd already warned his boss to expect a late arrival the following morning.
SCENE took a risk with the locale for this particular fête. For the past two years, the same version of this party was held at Restoration on King, sprawled out over two connected suites, with everyone corralled snugly together til the wee hours.
But just like Zebo's, Cumberland's, and Gentry Bar (last one there’s a stretch), all good things on that particular section of King have given way to the siren call of hipper, more distant destinations. As AC's and O'Malley's once obliterated King Street, so has Charleston’s CommoTuMustardoré District (we're still workshopping the name here, suggestions welcome) enticed bar-hoppers away from the hullabaloo of the crowds towards a sparser side of town.
To keep SCENEsters at peak contentment, the planning committee must pay attention to these trends and fresh, innovative ideas year after year. Which brings us to Tu, the brainchild of Josh Walker and Joey Ryan where delicious food meets haunted house, and where we boogied down beneath the soft glow of the Exxon sign next door.
Handheld chicken sammies, touted as a Japanese version of Chick-fil-A, were plentiful and 100 percent necessary to fuel the dance party. What began with the funky, eclectic beats of Joel Tarpin aka deejay “Mr. Lauper,” supposedly gave way to an after dance party at the Commodore, but I didn’t make it long enough to confirm that particular rumor. The evening heat and salty fare magnified thirst, and drink lines remained thick throughout the evening. In the airy restaurant courtyard, fan favorites Virgil Kaine and Cathead Vodka crafted ginger-heavy cocktails, but the real standout had to be the Blackberry Plum Saison, both served and brewed by Cooper River Brewing Company’s own Katie Powers.
With only the Finale remaining, the big question on everyone’s mind is, “When are these goddamn party recaps going to stop?”
That and, “Will the Joe provide a suitable replacement for the most highly attended Spoleto event of the festival?” Word on the street is that attendees will be allowed on the field, rather than restricted to the stands, which is a huge win for SCENEsters, old fogies, and normals alike.