Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Go for the beers, stay for the snacks
Poor House Brewing in North Park isn't much of a bar, at least not yet, although I got the feeling that the thrown together feel is at least partially intentional. Perhaps it's just the name, but I think the mason jars for serving beer and the crude bars that aren't attached to the floor are permanent fixtures designed to give the place a blue collar feel. It's almost as if it's going for a Tobaccos Rhoda's vibe, but without the signature clientele.
The beer selection was merely adequate and the main draw for visiting Poor House, the eponymous homebrew, wasn't available. Poor House is owned by Chris Finch, of the erstwhile Firehouse Brewing Company, and it's cool in theory to have some more beers being brewed uptown. Without that, Poor House looses its luster. Even the attractive girls bartending in Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots couldn't seal the deal, as though we're being unfairly compensated for a "meh" experience.
All right, I'll cool it with hating for a second and give credit where credit is due.
To the peanuts.
Huge tubs of salted peanuts and pretzels lurk behind the Poor House bar. Faced with the bar's many shortcoming, the peanuts were a godsend. Heavenly manna provided at a time of great need. Peanuts, along with pickled eggs, are the stuff of legend in terms of bar food. All the "bar food" menus out there that feature elaborately cured meats, artisan mac and cheese, or miniature hamburgers; all those menus are just compensating for a lack of peanuts.
Don't get me wrong, bar menus rife with small plates of elegant food are magical in their own right, but salted peanuts are amazing with beer. Along with pickled eggs, they're the stuff of legend when it comes to bar food. They've become less fashionable in recent years, much like bread baskets at restaurants. But the undeniable Bukowski charm of sitting and cracking peanuts, eating your fill one salty bite at a time, and producing a pile of leathery husks to be swept away with neither grace nor ceremony is a borderline literary experience.
4494 30th Street
Open daily 2-Midnight
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