Help Yourself to Some Suds

Pouring my way through the Queen City

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As of late, I've been so preoccupied with my thoughts that I haven't taken much time to try new things or venture out from my watering hole. Instead, I've been heading to the place I'm most comfortable and trying to take my mind off of being an adult.

I've started a new job. Two jobs in fact. I've restored my trust in love again. And I'm happier than I've been in a very long time. But you know what they say? With great power comes great responsibility. So, here's to the season of change.

Nevertheless, this past week I forced myself outside of my current comfort zone to check out the new self-pour spot in Plaza Midwood called Pour Taproom.

One of my close friends has been occupied with adulting of her own, and as such, we haven't had much time to hang. So when she hit me up after I'd sat cooped up in the house all day with an HVAC technician, I couldn't resist.

If you remember, last December I discussed my experience at a similar concept in a previous column about about a self-pour taproom called Hoppin' in South End. My biggest compliment? The fact that an introvert like myself can get to drankin' without having to endure an awkward interaction with a person or bartender. As you can imagine, the same goes for Pour Taproom.

Located next to Pint Central — the front parking lot is shared, but there's more parking in the back — Pour is a great addition to the Plaza Midwood nightlife scene.

In fact, I'd argue that the self-pour concept works much better in this part of Charlotte over the South End area. The vibe is way less "Chad," if that makes sense.

I entered the door and proceeded to the counter where I was greeted with one of the warmest welcomes I've felt in an establishment in a long time.

A friendly guide proceeded to take me on a quick tour after handing me a plastic card connected to a necklace with a QR code on it.

Instead of scanning the wristband tech like you do at Hoppin', you'll scan the QR code on your tag by holding it in front of a camera, while Pour's licensed technology does the rest.

After pointing out that I loved sours, my guide led me straight to where I'd find the beverage of my choice. I poured my first glass and sat down with my bestie.

In between pours, my friend — who's way more of an extrovert than myself — made another friend. Turns out, Brooke Martin had the pull to take us behind the scenes. As always, my girl was looking out.

Martin took us into the back room where we could see what's behind the scanners. The answer: 118 tap lines. That's right, Pour is the largest self-pour venue of its kind in the United States!

And the roomy space is definitely a reflection of that. Not to mention, they actually indicate what type of beer you're drinking. Perfect for the sour snob like me.

As I mentioned in my previous column, the tabs at Hoppin aren't organized by beer type, nor do they have as many beers to choose from.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not poo-pooing the originators in Charlotte, I'm just saying, before we get all like, "Why do we need another self-serve bar?" just know that there are some differences worth noting.

In addition to a QR scanner, increased organization, a larger selection and a huge space, they have a "WTF Wall" that is sure to grab your attention when you pass the front counter — it certainly caught mine. It features three unique, rotating taps for you to try.

Other than that, if you've been to Hoppin', you know what to expect overall; 32-ounce check-ins, a range of glasses to choose from, food trucks and, the best part, limited interactions with people you don't know.

If you're lucky, you'll run into Brooke or another member of their team who's willing give you a private tour. But even if you don't, it'll still be worth your trip.

For me, I'll be waiting until next month to go back. Why? I'm committing to Sober October again this year! That's right, I'm laying off the spirits for a solid month. Hold me to it.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the the new self-pour spot. Is there anything different you'd like to see in the next version? As Smokey the Bear says, "Only we can prevent terrible nightlife." He says that, right?

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