The Drink turns a year old

When he took over the space at 1320 15th Street that had held Alto (and Sambuca before that) last year, Paul Piciocchi split it into three 2,000-square-foot venues. The Drink opened in mid-November 2009, followed by the Rack & Rye gastropub a few weeks later, and then Mix Music Lounge.

Initially, the Drink was envisioned as a sports tavern/watering hole — but that identity didn't really take hold. While games are still shown on the huge projection screen in the back, DJs are now in the house four nights a week: DJ Cassidy for the Tuesday ladies' night, DJ Hottness (aka Theo Smith, former frontman for Lord of Word) spinning house on Thursdays, DJ Amen on Fridays, and video DJ Bert on Saturdays.

"Now it's the place that you'll go on a Tuesday night with a few of your buddies and have a beer," explains manager Ryan Mullen. "And it's the place you'll go and rock out on the weekends." And more and more people are going there on the weekends, when lines often stretch out the door. But whether there are ten people or a hundred in the Drink, it's a comfortable place.

Likewise, the overlap with Mix, which also brings in DJs, has been smooth. "We actually work really well together," Mullen says. "But we're just two completely different feels. We both do really well, and somehow just go after two completely different crowds."

We'll drink to that — and plenty of others did, too, last week, when the Drink hosted its first-anniversary party.

Club scout: Paul Riola, multi-instrumentalist and leader of the improvisational group the Bottesini Project, has been honing his electronic chops over the past year, focusing more on creating beats and ensemble sounds in his Cellar Door trio with the help of keyboardist Yong Bakos and former Spyro Gyro bassist Kim Stone. Talking with Randall Frazier, talent buyer/sound engineer for the Walnut Room (3131 Walnut Street), Riola mentioned that Cellar Door had evolved into a down-tempo, breakbeat-oriented group that comes across like a chilled-out DJ set, in the manner of Flying Lotus, Bonobo and Nostalgia 77.

Turns out Frazier was looking for exactly that sort of act to feature regularly at the Walnut Room, to create a space where folks could hang out after work while waiting for rush-hour traffic to die down. The result? The Slowdown Lounge, which the two will launch on Wednesday, December 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. After a second session on December 8, the lounge will take the rest of December off, then start up again the first Wednesday of January.

The weekly Slowdown Lounge will feature film collages by Scott Kinnamon, dimmed lights over leather couches, and half-priced appetizers, drafts and wine, along with $3 well drinks. Bonus: The Rino Supply Company next door will offer $3 joints for medical marijuana patients during the Slowdown Lounge.

 
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