After six months of serving roasted corn tea cocktails and verjus tonics, non-alcoholic cocktail pop-up Suckerpunch will leave the Goat Blocks after service August 28, as it prepares to open its permanent bar location in a new space. In between the Goat Blocks residency’s closure and the bar’s opening, the team behind Suckerpunch will begin a pop-up bottle shop, complete with tastings and events, through the holidays.
XOXO festival co-organizer Andy McMillan first announced plans to open a non-alcoholic bar in 2020, beginning with a few prix fixe pop-ups at Roseline Coffee before the pandemic hit. Through 2020 and 2021, Suckerpunch focused on cocktail kits, before opening a long-term residency in Southeast Portland in February 2022. Like the Roseline pop-up, the Goat Blocks residency started with a set menu of three drinks and dessert; over time, however, Suckerpunch transitioned into an a la carte menu of cocktails, non-alcoholic beers and wines, kombucha, and shrubs. These days, Suckerpunch visitors snack on olives and porcini popcorn while sipping on drinks made with Wilderton spirits and Steven Smith Teamaker teas. Looking forward, however, McMillan says he’s ready to focus more seriously on opening the permanent location.
“The original idea when we first got started at the beginning of the year, was that the pop-up would run concurrently with opening the permanent location,” he says. “Of course, the reality is running a business like this is incredibly laborious.”
After the pop-up’s final service, McMillan will take a short break to regroup, before finding a space for the bottle shop pop-up. There, McMillan will feature products like Pathfinder and non-alcoholic wine proxies, with tasting events and perhaps a limited, small-scale bar service. “The hope would be that we’d do something like the other bottle shops in the US, like soft spirits in LA,” he says. “The bottle shop would sort of invert what we were doing with the pop-up.”
The pop-up bottle shop is intended to run through the holidays and dry January, while Suckerpunch nails down the permanent bar’s location. After fundraising and building out the new space, McMillan hopes to open the new bar in the spring or summer of 2023.
While the six-month pop-up is coming to an end, he sees the Goat Blocks residency as something like a proof of concept: Suckerpunch now has a number of regulars who stop by for drinks week to week.
“We needed to prove that this a place people would come to regularly, a place where people would want to bring friends; that’s what we’ve proven at the pop-up,” he says. “It isn’t just a bar. It has an ethos, there’s something for people to get invested in. They’re excited about this place being real — especially people who are sober or in recovery who haven’t had a place like this before.”
Suckerpunch will continue to serve drinks on a weekly basis through its final service at 1030 SE Belmont Street. Those interested can make a reservation here.