Unlike last year, when they shut down the entire bar so that the staff could participate in the festivities (and enjoy a little R&R), Porco is leaving a couple staffers behind. It’s not that Eric Ho and John Gibian are being punished for some unspeakable tiki deeds; it’s that they have been gifted the keys to the kingdom so that they can give barflies a little taste of what they have planned for LBM, their Lakewood cocktail bar
slated to open in early spring.
“The pop-up will be an awesome preview of what LBM has planned to bring into the Cleveland cocktail scene,” Ho explains.
From Thursday, February 23 through Monday, February 27 (closed Sunday), the guys from LBM will be running the show. Guests can look forward to six to eight original cocktails that range from twists on classics to more unique, modern interpretations.
“For instance, we are doing a very traditional punch recipe (1 part sour, 2 part sweet, 3 part strong and 4 part weak), but using more unconventional ingredients,” adds Ho. “However, what brings all the cocktails together is the usage of fresh, in-season produce, where using several different techniques we can integrate the flavor profiles that we want into the cocktail.”
The Oh My Darling is a marriage of Irish Whiskey, Brandy, Clementine, Lemon, Honey and Rooibus Tea. The Color of my People is Flannel blends Rye, Blackstrap, Sweet Potato, Lumberjack Syrup, Nocino and Hellfire. The Sif combines Jamaican Rum and House Walnut Pomegranate Horchata.
Don’t fret tiki buffs; they’ll keep five killer Porco cocktails on the menu.
To eat, LBM chef Cory Miess will prepare items like ceviche with salmon, shrimp and haddock with a “Nordic cure.” Hoisin braised pork belly is paired with spicy pickled veggies, “bloomed” scallions and sesame. A vegetarian dish combines King oyster mushrooms with baby bok choy and white miso sauce.
Cocktails and food will be priced as they would be at LBM when it opens: cocktails $8-10; food $6-14.
Given the trimmed down staff, there will be no table service, only walk-up service at the bar.
“There will be a beautiful hostess to manage the flow because we know how Porco can get on the weekend,” Ho says. “But more importantly to explain to guests coming in that it is an LBM pop-up, who we are and what we do.”
As for the Lakewood bar itself, Ho says they all are working 30 to 40 hours per week on the build-out, in addition to their day jobs. They hope to be ready by March or April.
“We’re all developing skills that we never would’ve thought of learning and it’s been the greatest bonding experience for us all.”
In one week, the Porco Lounge and Tiki Room crew once again will set sail for the shores of sunny Florida, where they will represent Cleveland at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. There, they will be defending their People’s Choice award (and vying for top honors) at the third annual The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown.