Thursday, April 17, 2014
Until mixologist Andrew Volk and his Portland Hunt and Alpine Club open its doors sometime in June, I won’t fully understand the concept of this intriguing venture. Yes indeed it’s going to be a high-brow cocktail lounge. But there’s also a private-club factor. That’s the confusing part.
A membership costs $2,000 per year for the primary privilege of paying your bar bill in advance. With that members can sit in a small private room off the main space. But also mingling together is the confluence of members and and patronage open to the public. Very democratic.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition of social intercourse. Namely, is the intent therefore meant for a desoeuvre society to hover over the hoi polloi?
Joking aside, I think it will be fun. The retail space is a beautifully proportioned room at 75 Market Street. It's about 30 by 40 feet, with high ceilings and majestic windows overlooking the street, Tommy’s Park and all that glorious cityscape of 19th century buildings that comprise the Old Port.
It will be furnished in a very urbane style--sleek, modern, rich and presumably comfortable. Beyond that the main order of business is to serve craft cocktails.
In case you haven’t attended there have been many so-called “hush-hush” pop-up parties featuring Volk and his mixologist magic. These events have also featured amazing food—hors d’oeuvres made by some of our city’s brightest kitchen stars.
The last event, pictured below, was held at Eventide. For the first time I got to sample some of Volk's cocktail creations. But since I’m not very adventurous when it comes to drinks (vodka on the rocks, a gimlet or negroni are my basic picks), I won’t give an opinion either way.
The food passed around at the party was prepared by the staff of Eventide, so need I say more? It was delicious.
But it brings up this question. Besides libations what else will be served at “The Club?”
There’s no conventional kitchen there except perhaps a simple prep area, so it leads me to believe that fancy spreads, pates, charcuterie and nuts will be available.
Or will a bevy of Portland’s best chefs supply a rotating menu of cocktail fare for Volk and his staff to serve patrons?
Time will tell.
Below are the photos of the Eventide-Portland Hunt and Alpine event where a good time of food and drink was enjoyed by all.
At the Portland Hunt and Alpine bash held recently at Eventide, party-goers paid $50 each for the priviledge of having unlimited food and drink
One double-dipper couldn't keep his hands off the food
A serious Andrew Volk contemplates his next shake and drink
Volk in shake mode
These burnished oysters were very popular
The surprise of these delicious barbecued chicken nuggets is that they weren't boned; biter beware!
Eventide brings back Isinglass, aka gelee, that covered these mystery morsels--beautifully done
Volk puts on the finishing touch to his drink's creation, Ebb and Flow--Manzanilla sherry, gin and Royal Rose saffron syrup
The crowd seems to have liked Ebb and Flow, too
Other cocktails included:
Winslow Sour--bourbon, lemon, apple butter and egg white
Cumberland Punch--lime, brandy, rum and cava
Munjoy Punch--lemon, green tea, gin and pineapple
Shooter--aquavit, worcestershire and horseradish
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.