Walter Mencken 3:39 p.m., June 18
Provisions, Soda & Swine coming to Normal Heights
Back in July, I reported Consortium Holdings—the company behind Neighborhood, El Dorado, Noble Experiment, Craft & Commerce, and Underbelly—would be opening a new venue near the corner of 30th Street and Adams Avenue. As it turns out, CH headmen Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton will be opening two venues; different coexisting sister spaces designed around a common theme—nostalgia.
The first of the pair to hit the Heights will be Polite Provisions, a 2,200 square foot local revival of the old-timey drugstore where a town’s people would assemble, sit a spell with a fountain libation, and converse about everything under the sun. Like the American institutions it’s designed to pay homage to, Polite Provisions will serve milkshakes, malts, egg creams, and the like. Unlike Pop’s Pharmacy, those sweet treats will be available with a lacing of alcohol for self-medicating. The venue will also sport 46 taps; not surprising given Tafazoli’s long-standing love for craft beer. What is surprising is those taps will mostly pour forth various wines, craft sodas, spirits and cocktails, including beer-tails developed in collaboration with local brewers.
In building the concept for Polite Provisions, Consortium Holdings partnered with big-name bartender Erick Castro, a mixologist known for his “vintage minimalist” style—focusing on pre-Prohibition ingredients and recipes—which have put both he and spots like his San Francisco speakeasy stomping grounds, Bourbon & Branch, on the map in a big way. In 2010, he was recognized as Rising Star Mixologist by StarChefs, and the aforementioned venue has been cited as one of the best bars in America by Esquire and one of the finest in the world by Food & Wine. But he’s from NorCal! Relax, Raider haters and SoCal fanatics. There’s no need for picket signs or pitchforks. Before blowing up in the Bay Area, Castro went to college at SDSU.
Once Polite Provisions is up and running, it will be followed by Soda & Swine, an eatery specializing in exactly two low-frill comfort items—meatballs and apple pie. The former will be made of various proteins ground on-site against a butcher shop backdrop while the pies will be similarly from-scratch. All will be the product of Jason McLeod, a veteran chef with San Diego roots who was hired earlier this year to oversee the culinary operations at all of Consortium’s locations. This two-in-one addition to Normal Heights is scheduled to open in December.