by Elizabeth Rose

Popular River Ranch wine bar relocates next to sister concept as full-service bar.

Popular River Ranch wine bar relocates next to sister concept as full-service bar. By Elizabeth RosePhotos by Robin May

Friday, March 1, 2013

The minds behind the bar at Village Café have revamped POUR's offerings in anticipation of the wine bar's move to the former Village Café private dining room, just steps from the restaurant's front door in River Ranch. At press time, POUR was hoping to be open the first week of March.

"We have all of the same things, but now we have a brand new, beautiful bar that will be a much better outlet for some really great craft cocktails and a larger selection of them. We wanted to be more of a bar than we had been," says Ben Leger, sommelier and general manager at Village Café. "We're really just taking it to another level."

POUR retained its 48 wines on tap - offered in taste, half glass and full glass - but added 15 to 20 cocktails created by Village Café mixologist/POUR Manager Anthony White.

"The menu's expansive, from easy-to-drink cocktails to complex and layered cocktails," says Leger, "with some classics and some new creations."

The cocktail list is divided into four categories: easygoing, complex and layered, boozy and intriguing, and dessert. In the first column is the bellini: a housemade peach purée with prosecco, sugar, peach bitters and lemon twist for a refreshing pick-me-up. The Cool Cucumber is also well suited for a summer afternoon, with Effen cucumber vodka, Cointreau, cucumber, fresh lime, muddled basil, Barritt's ginger beer and housemade ginger lemongrass syrup.

The ginger lemongrass syrup makes another appearance in the ginger peach julep, a throwback cocktail with bourbon, the peach purée, mint and crushed ice. For a blast from the future (and the julep's boozy counterpart), the Chrysanthemum is dry vermouth, Benedictine, absinthe, orange bitters, orange peel and sparkling water.

For those who prefer to drink their desserts, the Trinity is sure to satisfy with cassis, Frangelico, Licor 43, muddled fresh berries, heavy cream and ice. All cocktails run between $6 and $9.

If, somehow, one of those wines or cocktails isn't tempting, the entire wine menu - about 700 wines - at Village Café is at imbibers' fingertips.

Village Café Executive Chef Jeremy Conner is at the helm of the new menu, which will benefit not only from his expertise but also from Village Café's kitchen. The menu holds "small, shareable plates, just tasty things they can have while they have a drink," says Leger, including cheese plates as the mainstay, but other fresh seafood and charcuterie options.