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NE Portland Is Getting a Mulled Wine Bar For Winter

Imperial Bottle Shop opens Glübar Tonight

A black mug with the word “Yours” inscribed on it sits on a wooden beam wrapped in white Christmas lights. The tassel of a teabag hangs from it.
A mug of mulled sake at Glübar
Imperial Bottle Shop/Official

Tap house and beer store Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom is opening a hot mulled wine and beer pop-up bar at its NE Alberta Street location starting tonight, Wednesday, December 16. Glübar will feature house-spiced mulled wines, beers, ciders, and sake as well as baked goods, and will run at least through the end of the year.

Co-owner Alex Kurnellas says that Glübar is an attempt to bring a little seasonal comfort and joy to the neighborhood during such a dark year. “The holidays lack a little bit of magic this year, we’re trying to inject a little of that into the world,” he says. “What better than warm alcohol to do that?”

The name of the bar comes from the words glühwein and glühbier, which refers to mulled wine or beer — popular beverages across Europe, especially Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia. “It’s really popular in ski resorts and outdoor markets,” Kurnellas adds.

For the glühbier, Kurnellas and his wife and co-owner Shawn Stackpoole start with a high ABV beer and add their own spice and fruit mixtures. For instance, the first week features the Fruitcake Delight, which sees the 15-percent Fort George Brewery 10th Anniversary Barleywine mulled with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and turbinado sugar, and garnished with rum-soaked raisins and currants.

The classic glühwein is Cooper’s Hall pinot noir mulled with cinnamon, anise, and turbinado sugar; garnished with clove, it’s likely the mulled wine people will be most familiar with. For hot cider, Glübar uses Two Towns Nice & Naughty Imperial Spiced Cider; originally intended to only be released for the now-postponed Holiday Ale Festival, the cider is already spiced and doesn’t get any other enhancement save for being warmed and garnished with lemon and clove. More uncommon is the house-spiced sake: Oregon’s own Momokawa Sake gets mulled with clove, orange, and honey and is served hot with a jasmine tea bag infusion.

Each drink is $7 for eight ounces, and with a relatively high ABV they make for potent and warming elixirs, but those who want an extra punch can add a shot of barrel-aged apple or brandy wine for $3. Unfortunately, Oregon law prohibits guests from taking alcoholic beverages to go, so customers won’t be able to wander with a cup of hot cider or beer, but the Imperial team has erected an outdoor seating area to enjoy the various spiced concoctions on.

Glübar is open at 2006 NE Alberta Street from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.