A quick architectural tour of the city’s slew of new restaurants gives the impression there is greater affection for old weathered barns than there ever was for farming itself, even in the agriculture heyday of the region. Seriously, where is all this reclaimed barnwood coming from? It’s everywhere, from high-end to low-brow establishments, employed as a subtle architectural expression of the sustainability zeitgeist.
The latest enterprise to wrap itself in a splintery cloak of weathered wood is Pour House Burgers, Bourbons and Brews, the ambitious project of former Crow’s Nest co-owner Ted Shelton, Spanky McGee’s founder David Purcell and former Silly Goose co-owner Mandy McNeil.
With its multiple decks and fire-engine-red garage doors hovering over Eighth Avenue, Pour House threatens to unseat Frugal MacDoogal as the main navigational landmark in the neighborhood. For that matter, with the critical mass of dining and drinking establishments gathering near Eighth and Division — including Pour House, Flyte, Jackalope, Mac’s and nearby Yazoo and Arnold’s — the stretch of Eighth Avenue arguably deserves a moniker of its own.
Yes, Pour House wears a two-thousand-teens-style mantle of rough-hewn planking, but here the aesthetic isn’t so much farm-to-fork as it is barrel-to-bar. Look closely and you’ll see that the ubiquitous strips of hardwood include the occasional bunghole. No, that’s not a dirty word, you pervert. It’s the opening where a cask of aging whiskey would be tapped and plugged with a cork-like device called a bung. Even the exposed industrial ductwork overhead has been given a trompe l’oeil treatment to look like bourbon barrels in the rafters.
More obvious than those clues is the glowing closet of liquors by the front door — a whiskey-lover’s version of a well-stocked wine cellar or humidor.
We could attempt to review the exhaustive array of 139 amber liquors on hand, but this column would degenerate quickly into hungover and inarticulate gibberish after the first few snorts Read more