My favorite bar in all of Greenville turns four years old this week. I've only been a regular there for about a year, but the most common joke in my life is that it is my home. I've even been asked what my job is there a few times. The back porch is my favorite place to sit in the sun having a life chat with a friend and a pitcher of margs, and music trivia on Thursdays was my spot until the universe decided to schedule my Finance class at the exact same time -- thankfully, that ends this week, too -- another celebration to be had.
I guest-coached a fitness class last weekend, and a squad of 10 or so people rolled onto that back porch with me afterwards to eat burritos and have one of Gringos' famous margaritas, which was on the house when they presented their custom koozie, designed by General Manager Jeremy Krauze, declaring that they had each "survived Amanda's Orangetheory takeover" -- a feat that certainly earned them some tequila.
The bartenders are my good friends and the bouncers and security team are my big brothers; the people there are a family, and they have welcomed me in. I pop behind the booth to say hi to DJ AVX every Friday night when he gets on the turntables at 10:00. I try not to miss their epic parties and events, even if it means I have to show up late in black-tie attire from the thing I had scheduled before, which I have been known to do a time or two. Turnouts are always amazing, and this is because the Gringos squad knows how to throw a good time, Malibu ice luge included.
What most people don't know, however, is that these events raise funds for extremely worthy local charities. I got Jeremy to leave the bar, meaning I got him one block away to the terrace of Jianna for some spaghetti, and picked his brain about what goes into these events.
Gringos provided an RTIC cooler full of gift cards to the winning team, European Union; the cooler also included donations from Breakthru Beverage with 17 bottles of booze, gifts from Corona and Modelo, Toss Pizza Pub, Willy Taco, Breakwater, Sharkey's, Connolly's, Biscuit Head, Ink N Ivy, Dapper Ink, Pour Taproom, Liberty Fine Cuts and Shaves, and Hair by Erika Krauze.
"We strive to be so much more than just a restaurant and bar. We want to be a pop cultural movement and hopefully assist in the draw of people moving to Greenville. This city has been far too kind in welcoming and accepting us over the past four years of being open and we love the opportunity to give back,” Jeremy told me the day before he cut a check after totaling donations, giving over $1800 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Running of the Bulls, a bi-annual bar crawl, benefits a local charity with each installment. The Fall 2016 event benefitted the Greenville Humane society, and proceeds from the April 2016 event benefitted Project Host, a soup kitchen that also trains patrons in culinary skills. Project Host received a $2900 after the dust settled and the bull costumes were tucked away for another day.
After our pasta was long gone, I asked Jeremy about the legacy he wants to leave on our city. “If our day were to come and Gringo's was no more years from now...I want people to always think back and remember that spot that threw the most amazing events and parties. That put out engaging, light-hearted content that may have brightened someone's day for even just 5 seconds. We love our community and could not be more appreciative of the level of positive response we get in our events and marketing techniques with our videos and social media accounts. We're super stoked for our almighty throwdown for Cinco De Mayo, which also marks Gringo's 4th birthday!) There are plenty of other great events in the works for the rest of summer as well. We have the greatest friends and fan base. And my sincerest thanks goes out to them for their undying support of our weird, crazy antics, celebrations and events.”
I took over the Greenville 360 Instagram at Willy Taco's Uno de Mayo event and found most of the Gringos there doing what they do best -- enjoying a few bevvies and having fun together. We danced to a Guns 'N Roses cover band and stood right next to the speakers. When I looked back, Jeremy had hoisted himself on bouncer and legend Cody the Caveman's shoulders, living in the moment.
That's the best way I can describe these guys, and this bar that is more than a bar. They make the community a better place, a more fun place to to throw down, and a place that I love to call home.