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Piggy Tales

High rollin’ with the Spoleto crowd



Thursday evening we made our way to the Cocktail Club for their event with Striped Pig Distillery. Upon arriving at the bar, guests received tickets to try two of the three specialty cocktails created for the night — all with piggy names. A Pig’s Tail featured Striped Pig’s rum and had a bit of a sour kick. This Little Piggy was a vodka-beet concoction with an earthy flavor. Porky’s Revenge had ’shine and pineapple juice. We tried the vodka drink and the rum one, and after our tickets were gone, we greedily wished they had given us more than two.

The crowd started out small — most people had just stopped by for some free drinks before moving on — so we stationed ourselves at the bar. But by 7:30 p.m. there was a decent amount of people milling around and trying to grab the free food as waiters went by. The popcorn, meatballs, and Korean short ribs couldn’t get out of the kitchen fast enough, and we were regretting our spot at the bar since the servers’ trays were empty before they got close enough to us. At 8 p.m. the free cocktails were done, so we took our freeloading selves home.

On Friday night, we got all dolled up to attend the annual Spoleto Auction. Designed to raise money for the Festival Orchestra, the Spoleto-sponsored auction provided a semiformal, yet fun, affair while auctioning off decadent items and trips. Knowing just how ardent Spoleto fans are, we knew we were going to see some dollars fly to help out the orchestra. And we were not disappointed. About 200 people mingled in the Memminger Auditorium around the open bar and a massive Spoleto installation that stood about 10 feet tall (in case anyone forgot the reason behind the night). Waiters walked around with plates of goat cheese quesadillas, duck confit empanadas, and gruyere cheese covered in local honey. We don’t know if there’s an “acceptable” number of hors d’oeuvres that one can have an event, but, if there is, we definitely exceeded it.

The auctioned items were extravagant — catered parties for 40 guests, Napa Valley weekends, custom-designed jewelry by Crogans, sky box Panthers tickets, and more. We were tempted by the two-week Tuscany vacation, but, alas, we forgot to bring the thousands of dollars we have lying around the house. Helping to loosen up bidders, the Charleston Latin-Jazz Collective began to play as the guests were seated for tapas and wine pairings, smoothing the way for the upcoming salsa dancing. The two emcees made cheeky jokes that got a few chuckles through the room and helped open up the pocketbooks. By the time we left, almost $30,000 was raised. We walked away proud that we had done our part for Spoleto, even it was just drinking free wine and daydreaming about our Tuscany adventure.

Sunday found us at Mellow Mushroom in Avondale for their annual Super Bowl party, a private event for members of their beer club. Walking in, we were surprised to discover just how attentive people were to the game. Everywhere you looked heads were turned upward at the giant projection screen and the row of TVs above the bar. And our worry about not being able to hear the game? Unnecessary. Mellow had cranked up the sound so we could hear all the action.

We decided to wander around before settling into a spot to watch the game. Upstairs there were a few people — and a decent amount of children — watching the game next to an unused photo booth. Downstairs was where it seemed to be at though, so we scoped out a spot by the bar. The crowd seemed to be primarily Broncos fans and men, but one faithful fan-girl proudly watched while wearing a Bronco horse head hat. And for the first quarter, the game was the main attraction.

Sipping on beer and feasting on burgers (from Butcher & Bee), eggplant parm sammys, nachos, and wings, it was like we were at a giant house party, but in a bar. As the Broncos continued to self-destruct, people started drinking much more heavily, and we don’t blame them. By the time the halftime show came on, it was getting rowdy. A fog machine had even been set up by the bar, but it kept misfiring and sending fog right into the face of the bartenders. It didn’t last very long.

When Bruno Mars took over the screens, the reactions were mixed. Guys acted too cool to care, but the girls were more into it. But when the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on stage, the crowd got excited and cheers erupted through the bar. After the halftime show a massive dance party took over as the lights went down. Lasers beamed as a gaggle of girls started dancing on the spaces between booths. People were definitely trying to give Bruno Mars a run for his pelvic-thrusting money. The oddest part was how abruptly the dance party stopped. All of a sudden the lights came on, and we were back to watching the game.

The third and fourth quarters were mostly a blur of football and people watching. When the Broncos finally scored, another loud cheer went through the crowd. But knowing that the game was over, we packed up and headed home before we made our Monday too miserable.

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