As heavenly as the idea of beer gardens sounds, so few places get it right. The neon signs attracting saucer-like June bugs and mismatched patio furniture slapped together sloppily turns our stomachs. Joe Parra, the general manager of Pour Drinks & Eats, took the garden concept up a notch with moody lighting, cozy seating, flat screens and a thought-out menu of affordable fares.
Fire-engine red cushions work with brown-wicker tables dropped against a brick and iron-cast fortress securing guests from life beyond. A calm chocolate sky hovers above this Lakeview reserve while rustic lamps and tea lights glow. A flower fountain display centers the space like an ice statue and an "unlimited" bar doles out unlimited drinks.
Classic alternative/pop (The Smiths, Talking Heads, Joy Division, Pet Shop Boys) emotes a chill vibe both outside and in. Inside, patrons perch themselves before a grand bar cased in dark-shiny wood or on tables along exposed brick. A tin ceiling shines, French doors welcome a gentle breeze and track lighting with exposed ventilation offer a modern touch. The general ambiance suits all, the intent of Parra hoping to accommodate the sports crowd in addition to gangs of girlfriends hooked on the flair.
On the menu, find traditional bar choices with a not-so traditional take. Scratch the idea of frozen chicken tenders dumped in hot oil smacked into a basket and hurled onto your table. Here, the ancho chili version rings gold: charred, tossed in ancho chili adobo, served with lime creme fraiche. Pancetta dates, stuffed with manchego cheese and laced with mint, offer a world of flavors. Burgers dressed in Chihuahua cheese and poblano peppers amaze.
Our deepest appreciation resides in the cocktail list compiled of divine potions unseen anywhere else. Spiked plum iced tea and strawberry basil lemonade define hot summer nights. However, do try the Berry Capiroska (muddled berries, lime, brown sugar and Stoli Blackberi) and Pineapple Express (Cava, pineapple juice, ginger ale and Bacardi Dragonberi) as well.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez