When Proof was invited to pour drinks at the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans, head bartender Craig Nelson planned to close the King Street bar for a few days to make the trip.
Nelson knew he’d have to bring Proof’s entire team — a total of four bartenders and one bar back — to be able to make and serve drinks at the event’s opening party.
“We don’t pre-batch any of our cocktails, so in order to pull it off we need all of us there,” he said.
Instead of closing next week, though, Proof will host guest bartenders — and guest cocktail menus — on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Greg "Bear" Barrow and Roderick Hale Weaver, who previously ran the bar program at Husk, will take over the bar at 437 King St. on Tuesday. Barrow also founded the Charleston Brown Water Society.
On Wednesday and Thursday, patrons will again find Greg Williamson behind the bar. He left Proof over a year ago and now works at Bourbon Columbia.
“It’s kind of a cool thing to have either of those guys behind the bar,” Nelson said. “I think it’s going to be fun. It’s like Proof is putting on a different little costume for a few days.”
At the opening party in New Orleans, Proof bartenders will make four of the bar’s signature cocktails, which will require hours of prep work. Nelson also wants to get to New Orleans in time to boil peanuts, a snack that delighted Tales of the Cocktail attendees when he last worked the event in 2015.
“It’s quite an honor to be invited to do this, especially twice,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he has previously asked Weaver to work a guest shift. Now that it’s happening, patrons should expect “some very interesting” drinks to choose from.
“I’ve been telling him, ‘You can come in and do anything,” he said. “And he goes, ‘You mean anything?’ ”
Proof is open 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday and 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.