Bartender Games turn up the heat in downtown Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee sometimes gets a reputation as a city that slows down during the winter, but some say when it's cold out, that's when you need to drink more! Area bartenders have come up with a way to entertain.

Hundreds of people flocked to Turner Hall on a cold winter's night looking for a way to warm up, and chill out.

"It's terrible outside. I've never felt a winter this cold," said bartender Tara Jade from Ashley Q's. "What's a better way to warm up than with an ice-cold cocktail or beer?"

Jade is competing in OnMilwaukee.com's Bartender Games -- where Brew City's best bartenders duke it out for the gold. Jade and her team are the returning champions.

"The qualities of a good bartender: you need to know how to listen, you need to know when you shut up, you need to know when to make a good cocktail, and you just want to have a good time," said Jade.

The night isn't just for bartenders -- those in attendance get to taste and vote for their favorite cocktails.

"It's not the world's most technical drink competition. It's sort of a fun event. It's as much fun for the people who are watching the drinks being made as the people who are making them," said Andy Tarnoff with OnMilwaukee.

Bartenders take the stage, not only to pour drinks, but to show off other skills -- like karaoke -- making the games more of a comedy show at some points.

"We created this thing to take place in the dead of winter because this is when we need it the most. The dead of winter is when you need a stiff drink," said Tarnoff.

That's exactly what you can expect at the Bartender Games.

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