Sophie Bolich

POP Sets Opening Date in Walker’s Point

Neighborhood's newest LGBTQ bar plans to arrive in style on Sept. 8.

By - Aug 30th, 2023 05:30 pm
Site of POP, 124 W. National Ave. Photo taken Aug. 30, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of POP, 124 W. National Ave. Photo taken Aug. 30, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

POP may be more than a week out from its opening day, but music is already blaring at the upcoming Walker’s Point bar and restaurant, 124 W. National Ave. Inside, leadership and staff are fine-tuning the menu and finalizing plans as dance beats bounce off the brightly-colored walls.

Following its opening, set for Sept. 8, POP plans to expand on the neighborhood’s existing LGBTQ scene, bringing carefully-curated music, themed cocktails and special events such as drag brunches to the several-block area that’s already home to more than six gay and lesbian bars.

The neighborhood is also home to Marcus Wise; the industry veteran and owner of POP has lived nearby for nearly a decade with his husband, Dan.

“This is meant to be great for our whole neighborhood,” Wise said, noting that he and his fellow bar owners are aiming to create a community that “everybody in the city wants to come to, and that people come from out of town to visit.”

It’s been just three months since Wise began work on the long-vacant building, once the site of Ashley’s Q. In that short time, the structure has been fully transformed. The exterior is now sporting a fresh coat of steel blue paint and scarlet trim — a drastic change from the previous beige stone.

Inside, the bar is futuristic and bursting with color — from rainbow pendant lights suspended over the bar and dining areas to purple, half-moon booths and a bright yellow banquette. Neon, under-bar lighting and abstract, rainbow murals that extend onto the ceiling and floor bring additional whimsy to the playful interior design.

Wise said he had a very specific vision for the project, which he achieved in collaboration with design firm Three Sixty. That vision also extends to the menu, which employs colorful foods and meticulous presentation to match the bar’s atmosphere.

Guests can expect fast-casual bites such as POP Fries, available in six flavors including truffle parmesan; poutine inspired by a Toronto version that Wise is partial to; pizza empanadas and other finger foods.

For brunch, diners can start off at either end of the health spectrum, opting for fresh fruit or a basket of bacon. Entrees include POP’s own spin on the classic eggs Benedict, customizable breakfast pizzas, Belgian waffles, mini quiches, Greek yogurt with granola, avocado toast and a basic breakfast with your choice of eggs, bacon or sausage, hashbrowns and buttered toast.

Wise admitted that he’s a picky eater, but said Kitchen Manager Nico Corprue has more than risen to the occasion. “He’s been able to create exactly what I’ve been wanting,” Wise said.

Corprue has had plenty of practice. “Since I was 6 years old, I always had a passion for food,” he said. “I always wanted to cook so it’s always been important to me to be in the kitchen.”

In fulfilling Wise’s wishes, Corprue has put particular effort into the presentation of each dish. “Food is like art to me,” he said. “It’s art that you eat.”

From the bar, guests can expect beer on tap and an assortment of pour-ready cocktails. A list of “Diva Drinks,” inspired by pop culture icons such as Taylor SwiftKim Petras and Beyoncé, will also be available.

One such drink is the Lavender Haze; the Miss Americana-inspired cocktail will be served in a half-spherical glass and topped with a bubble of lavender-scented smoke. Another, called Coconuts, is a classic piña colada with a splash of coconut rum, whipped cream and cherries, a tribute to the song by Kim Petras.

As the opening date draws closer, keep an eye on the POP website and Facebook page for updated hours of operation. The first drag brunch is set for Sept. 9.

Before Photos

August Photos

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