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Whisky River Keeps The Good Times Flowing

By Pamela Sosnowski

If you're a NASCAR fan, chances are you've already heard of or have visited Whisky River, the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned restaurant and sports bar in downtown Charlotte. The venue is more than a place to eat, however; it regularly hosts events from wine and paint night to its famous "Boots and Bikinis" beauty contest. And when you visit, don't forget to give the mechanical bull a try.

"Whisky River was one of the original premier nightlife venues that opened up in the Epicentre nine years ago," says Manager Lee Benton. "We aren't still here today by mistake! Each day is different at Whisky River but there is something that stays consistent...we know how to throw a party!"

Each Friday night features a different event or promotion such as cash balloon drops, fashion shows, food festivals, whiskey tastings and more. While Benton describes the weekend scene as "jamming", Tuesday nights for ages 18+ are just as popular with the nearby college crowd and feature $2 beer and $5 fireball specials. "Our casual atmosphere makes it easy for people of all walks of life to enjoy themselves," says Benton. "They can have a conversation on the back side of the club, dance the night away on the dance floor with DJ Boss Austin, or just plain relax and let loose with friends."

The restaurant area is actually the newest addition to Whisky River, having been added in 2013. "The restaurant has undergone a lot of testing, tasting, trial and error, but is now booming and a favorite lunch/dinner spot for out-of-towners and locals," says Benton. The usual bar comfort foods such as nachos, wings, burgers, and sandwiches can be found on the menu but some items are given the Whisky River twist. This includes the bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños, where the peppers are stuffed with cheese and wrapped in succulent bacon, and the Texas tequila burger, which is served with tequila sauce. A variety of salads and entrees are also offered, as is the restaurant's favorite dessert, southern style banana pudding.

The venue can also be rented for private parties. Two VIP suites, one near the bull riding pen and the other near the DJ booth, can comfortably accommodate 60 people each. Catering packages of varying prices are available and Whisky River's event coordinator can assist with event logistics including decor, entertainment, and food and drink options.

Upcoming events include the 5th annual Banana Bar Crawl and Mardi Gras celebration. But no matter what you visit Whisky River for, even if it's just for beers with your friends, Benton says a good time is always in store. "When asked what sets us apart, just remember our main ingredients," he says. "Take two ounces of rock n roll, an ounce of country, add a splash of southern hospitality, then mix and serve!"

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