As part of Denver's Taste of the Nation/Share Our Strength benefit last night at Mile High Station, eight generous drink slingers from some of the city's hottest bars participated in a spirited cocktail competition to raise money for the non-profit organization, whose mission it is to make sure that no child goes hungry.
But unlike a typical cocktail contest overseen by judges, last night's winner was determined by the amount of tips collected by each competitor. "In this kind of competition, the competitive spirit is still there, but it's more about raising money for the charity," says Steuben's bar manager Sean Kenyon, who spearheaded the battle."This was much more fun for the bartenders than a real competition, and cheating and tip jar stuffing is encouraged. In the end, the participating bartenders raised over $800 for charity and that's the real goal."
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TAG's Brian Melton won the competition, with a total of $297 in tips, although rumor has it that Leigh Sullivan, wife of TAG owner Troy Guard, was stuffing the TAG tip jar throughout the evening. But when all the money goes to charity, stuff and stuff again. Second place went to Kevin Burke and Mo Elio of Colt & Gray who had a good drink, but also benefited handsomely by Burke's physique, which everyone benefited from when he took off his shirt for tips. Third place was awarded to Steuben's bartender Ryan Layman and Amanda Olig of Vesta Dipping Grill.