Johanna and Steve Corman, owners of Portland's premier "natural soda bar and mixology shop" Vena's Fizz House, revealed in July that they were applying for a BYOB liquor license for private, after-hours events only. This week, though, the Cormans told Eater they've changed tacks: They are now thinking about becoming a full bar.
What would this mean for mocktail fans, though?
Nothing untoward, it turns out.
Johanna said despite its popularity, the bar simply doesn't get a ton of traffic from the non-alcoholic crowd once evening sets in. Thus, one idea the couple is toying with is to remain entirely alcohol-free during the day, and then, in classic Speakeasy-fashion (perhaps a switch will be thrown, curtains drawn, sign flipped), convert to a full bar at around 7 p.m. One name she is toying with for the Fizz House's alter ego is Vena's Vengeance, also the name of a mocktail served in-house. Johanna also suggested their full bar may remain open only until 11 p.m., rather than the last call of 1 a.m. allowed in Maine.
The line-up of mocktails and sodas for which the bar is known could even carry over to the full bar service, and a choice of spirits could be made available for blending with the various drinks. Barman Steve could suggest, for example, that rum pairs best with a coconut-forward mocktail like the Snowball, but also provide back-up suggestions. Johanna stressed that they'd like to focus on local liquors; naturally, all of the drinks would be still be available sans spirits after 7 p.m., too.
Anyone looking to influence the Cormans' decision can do so now; Johanna said she is actively seeking input from fans and customers on how to make this transition. 345 Fore Street, Portland, 207-747-4901, website. Open Tuesday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.