DULUTH – A new cocktail lounge is opening this weekend in the city’s Lincoln Park craft district, the latest addition to the up-and-coming neighborhood that owners hope will fill a void in the local restaurant scene.
“There really isn’t a true cocktail lounge in Duluth right now,” said Tyler Schwanke, the 36-year-old general manager of the Noble Pour, which opens Sunday at 1905 W. Superior St. “There are places that have some fantastic cocktails. But no one’s doing solely this.”
The Noble Pour’s menu features “fresh, simple, well-crafted” cocktails with prices ranging from $10 to $14, Schwanke said.
“The word ‘noble,’ to me, just seemed like the picture of what we’re trying to do,” he added. “It’s not just this drink in front of you, but it’s the fact that you’re sharing this space and being served with other Duluthians or out-of-towners. This is really your living room that you’ve invited us into.”
The cozy joint looks like an upscale home or cabin that comfortably sits about 45 people, filled with squishy armchairs and leather booths surrounding tree-stump tables designed by a local artist. Shelves filled with books and knickknacks flank a fireplace that’s modeled after the one in Minneapolis’ Hewing Hotel.
The bar shares an owner with its neighbor, OMC Smokehouse, a popular barbecue spot that popped up in 2017.
“What I think is happening with Duluth is the bar is being raised,” said Tom Hanson, who owns three other local restaurants in addition to OMC and the Noble Pour. “We’re out to add something that gives people one more reason to want to live here.”
Hanson and his family have been credited with helping revive Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, which some once considered a seedier part of town. Their business investments have been complemented by like-minded folks who view the craft district as a trendy spot for shopping and dining.
A yoga studio is being built above the Noble Pour, and a pour-your-own-beer joint called the Duluth Beer Exchange is set to open next door. Free Air Life Co., an activewear store, recently set up shop around the corner.
The cocktail lounge was a thrift shop before Hanson purchased the property last year, initially thinking the space could be a bar attached to OMC. The plan for a stand-alone lounge evolved over the summer, and Schwanke came on board in July. Schwanke and Hanson took a spontaneous trip to New York this month with two Noble Pour bartenders and visited a dozen cocktail hot spots in search of ideas.
The team has tried to source things locally whenever it can. The menu features local beers, and the sturdy pine bar came from Duluth’s Red Herring Lounge, which closed this year.
Vinyl records purchased from Electric Fetus in Duluth and the Vinyl Cave in Superior play on Hanson’s old stereo from high school. Customers during less busy stretches may get to browse through the Noble Pour’s music menu to pick an album to play. The lounge will be open from 4 to 11 p.m.
Schwanke’s favorites from the drink menu — which looks like a 45 rpm record sleeve — include the Midnight Song (“a booze-forward nightcap”) and the Ignatius Cup (“inspired by my mother’s recipe for a cosmopolitan”).
Despite a winter storm Thursday, Duluth’s Lincoln Park was bustling as Hanson shoveled the walk outside the Noble Pour. The yet-to-be-displayed sign will be “simple and discreet,” he said, and — if his bet pays off — will soon be the emblem of another destination place in Duluth.