Serving Wine on Tap and a Whole Lot More
BY LISA TRUESDALE | PHOTOS BY PHIL MUMFORD
When Patrick and Azadeh Walsh opened their new wine bar in Louisville in 2012—just across the back patio from their successful café, Bittersweet—they carefully planned every detail. And that includes the wine bar’s name and logo.
“We named it /pôr/,” Patrick says, “because most of our wine is poured out of a tap, and that’s the true phonetic spelling of the word ‘pour.’ Plus, the stylized logo has elements that reflect the shape of the building.”
Ask why they chose to serve wine on tap, and Patrick will quickly list several reasons that will convince even the most passionate wine drinkers.
“We don’t really have room to store a large inventory of wine bottles,” he explains. “So I did a lot of research before deciding. With Wine on Tap, there’s no waste, no bottle shock, no faulty corks, and best of all, the wine is always fresh. And it’s environmentally friendly.”
At least 12 tap wines at a time (six whites and six reds) are available by the glass or in two-glass or five-glass carafes. Single-serving prices range from $8-$12, but during Happy Hour (4-6 p.m. daily and all day Sunday), they’re just $5 each. On Tuesday “Flight Nights,” you can enjoy three 3-ounce tasters for $12-$15, or a “First Class” treatment that includes three tasters plus cheese, nuts and fruit for $20.
/pôr/ wine house (720-666-1386; www.porwine.com) is located at 836-½ Main St., Louisville 80027. Hours are 4 p.m.-midnight Fri-Sat and 4-10 p.m. other nights (closed on Mondays until May 1). Happy Hour is 4-6 p.m. daily and all day Sunday. Bittersweet (303-317-5522; www.bittersweetcafes.com) is located at 836 Main St. It opens at 6:30 a.m. daily; closing hours vary.
If you’re still not convinced that tap wine is the way to go, /pôr/ does offer a number of bottles of red, white or sparkling wines. Like many wine bars, it has a dedicated evening when it offers bottles at 50 percent off. But, unlike most wine bars, /pôr/ offers the discount on Saturday night, not on a less-busy Monday or Tuesday.
The word “wine” may be in the name, but /pôr/ wine house also does many other things well. There’s a full bar with hand-selected whiskeys and craft cocktails, some of which rotate seasonally to take advantage of fresh local ingredients, like summer peaches or autumn pears. The latter is a key ingredient in the new Winter-Spiced Pear Sangria ($9), a white-wine concoction starring zippy ginger and holiday spices.
The food is an eclectic assortment of goodies that pair perfectly with wine, and most everything is freshly made in-house with locally sourced ingredients. Many items are vegan, vegetarian or nut-free, and most offerings that aren’t already gluten-free can be made that way upon request.
The $5 small bites on the Happy Hour menu include Bacon-Wrapped Dates, Stuffed Mushrooms and Blistered Shishito Peppers. The food menu also includes six inventive flatbread pizzas, like the Potato with Olives & Chevre ($12); unique salads such as the Kale & Cajun-Spiced Chickpea Caesar ($10/$16); and homemade soups like Creamy Tomato ($6/$8), Pork Meatball ($7/$9) and Thai Shrimp ($8/$10).
For large groups, the Premium Chef’s Board ($60) serves 5-8 people with a huge assortment of cheeses, charcuterie meats, spiced nuts, crackers, pickled veggies, fruits and spreads. Another very popular shareable item, Azadeh says, is the Spicy Ahi Tuna Nachos ($19), a huge platter with layers of seared ahi, cubed avocado, pineapple-habañero pico de gallo and wasabi-ginger mayo over crisp chips.
Spaces for Hanging Out
All of the Walshes’ business decisions are “based on the needs of the community,” Patrick says. So opening /pôr/ wine house was a natural complement to Bittersweet. The crowd at the café hangs out mostly in the morning and afternoon, enjoying the coffee (roasted on the premises) and the house-made pastries, sweets and sandwiches. “And our breakfast burritos,” Azadeh adds, “which are very popular and only four dollars.”
The Bittersweet crowd naturally tapers off in the afternoon, so it was important to provide a place for people to go in the evenings as well. “We like to create gathering spaces where people feel free to just come and hang out,” Azadeh says, noting that the patio accessed by both Bittersweet and /pôr/ has a fire pit for all seasons. The space also hosts occasional themed parties, including a big New Year’s Eve bash open to all, along with indoor or outdoor wedding receptions and other private events.
The Walshes also had the community in mind when they built /pôr/ wine house right over an existing historic building on the property, keeping the original structure intact by lifting it up so the foundation could be poured and then setting it back down. “We had wood specially milled to match the existing wood,” Patrick says, “and we even built a secondary roof over the original roof.”
Despite the success of Bittersweet and /pôr/, the couple isn’t done yet; they’re opening a second /pôr/ location in Gunbarrel, sometime in 2017. It’s a lot of work, they admit—especially with their second child arriving in December—but it’s worth it.
“I often step back on a busy night and just watch people enjoying themselves,” Patrick says. “It’s amazing how it has all evolved, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”