Denver's best bartenders raise $2,000 and collect more than 450 toys for the Salvation Army

Earlier this week, fifteen local mixology magicians converged behind the bar of Steuben's, 523 East Seventeenth Avenue, as part of the retro diner's annual holiday toy drive, a festive, spirited party that involves clever cocktails, lots of willing imbibers, good will, good cheer, generosity and a heap of toys, all of which are given to the Salvation Army, who, in turn, donates the whole kit and caboodle to deserving kids scrooged out of Christmas presents.

Bartenders from Steuben's, Vesta Dipping Grill, Colt & Gray, TAG, Root Down, H Burger, Green Russell, and the the Bitter Bar in Boulder garbed themselves in tropical tiki beachwear and poured alcohol-fueled drinks for $5 each until 2 a.m. -- and every drink slinger in attendance donated their tips to the Salvation Army.

"It was a hugely successful event with great bartenders from all over the city helping out and pitching in," says Steuben's/Vesta Dipping Grill owner Josh Wolkon, who estimates that more than 450 toys were donated and $2,000 in cash tips collected to benefit the non-profit. "Out of all the charity events that we do every year, this one may be the most rewarding. There's tremendous gratification and satisfaction from seeing that hill of toys getting bigger and bigger throughout the night."

The toys and cash were officially donated to the Salvation Army on Tuesday. "They were so excited when we dropped everything off on Tuesday morning, and I can't wait to do it again next year," says Randy Layman, the Steuben's bartender who spearheaded the event.

Happy Christmas, kids.

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