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Happy birthday, Whisky River!

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At Whisky River's one-year anniversary party last week, Mayor Pat McCrory got on stage (with some added dramatics from the free-flowing Bacardi) and made a public announcement that Whisky River is his favorite bar in Charlotte ... and I'm going to have to agree with him.

In my own little "BC After Dark" Best Of Charlotte, I would like to unofficially proclaim Whisky River as the best bar, overall. The music they play is a mixture of country and hip-hop (hick-hop if you will), and the live music I've seen play there ranges from Dierks Bentley to Natasha Bedingfield.

The bartenders are faster than the owner, NASCAR driver Dale Jr. himself, and I even concocted my own cocktail there -- "The Slutty Shirley Temple" (recipe on brittneyafterdark.com).

But Pat McCrory wasn't the main attraction at the birthday -- anniversary ... whatever you want to call it -- party: It was Dancing with the Stars country star Julianne Hough.

Meanwhile, the crowd was a diverse mix -- and by diverse I mean a blend of NASCAR drivers and Panther players and Uptown and Lake Norman people. My favorite party favor was the T-shirt with a print of Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough making out ... I actually bought it and dared someone to wear it all night. He did.

I asked Bob Durkin, the president of Bar Management Group that manages Whisky, how it felt to celebrate a first anniversary the same year as a 10-year anniversary (for Dixie's Tavern). He gave me a high five and said he can't wait to celebrate Whisky's 10-year anniversary, too. He has a point -- the bars BMG manages do have the longest life span in Charlotte.

It has been a year since the EpiCentre complex opened; slowly it's gone from a construction site to a hot nightlife spot, changing the face of Charlotte nightlife as we know it. In the beginning, when the lines were wrapped around the building that encompasses an entire block, people used to say the new car smell would wear off, along with the novelty. Well, a year later, there are still lines, and in that time it's monopolized Alive After Five. Will the opening of the N.C. Music Factory change this? Let's wait and see ...

Log on to BrittneyAfterDark.com and check out the Scrapbook of Shenanigans including a crotch shot of Julianne Hough while performing at Whisky.

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