Booze-Forward “Pourhouse” Is Coming To Gastown This Summer

May 1, 2009.


Music to my ears from Voya barkeep Jay Jones this morning: “I’m opening my own joint at the end of the summer”.

It’s about time the journeyman settled down! He’s worked a lot of places over the years (and has accrued a great many of fans and regulars), so this has the reassuring ring of permanence to it. I just spent a week with him in Kentucky on the Bourbon Trail, so I’ve seen first hand how much he appreciates his spirits (it’s terrifying).

So where’s the new place going to be? According to an email from Jay, it’s “the old Flux location in Gastown, just southeast of the Steam clock.” There’ll be 160 seats in total, with 25 at the bar. The concept? “Spirit focused, back to basics drinking and eating.” Huzzah!

Regular readers will recall the flame out of Flux, the concept-less joint at 162 Water St. that tried (if I recall correctly) to mix chocolate with sushi. I always thought it was a prime location, and ripe for folks with either solid name recognition and talent or people with lots of money to buy both. Jay will knock it out of the park here.

The name? Pourhouse.

How cool is that? Maybe 2009 won’t suck as bad as we thought it might.

UPDATE #3 | July 9, 2009

A swell group of Gastown restaurant industry folks (including some of the city’s best bar talent) gathered at 162 Water St. just after noon today to honour and help the owners of The Pourhouse in laying down their beautiful virgin bar, a significant milestone in the highly anticipated joints’ construction. Neighbourhood dignitaries in attendance included Mark Brand, Josh Pape, and Sophie Taverner of The Diamond; Tannis Ling of Bao Bei; Neil Ingram and Simon Kaulback of Boneta; Jason Kelly, Stuart Irving, and Tyson Reimer of Cobre; Kurtis Kolt and Alex Thornley of Salt Tasting Room; Sonya from Chill Winston; Brad Stanton and Sean Hamilton of Revel; Ron Oliver of Maker’s Mark; Karl Gregg from Two Chefs and a Table; my colleague Joanne Sasvari from the Vancouver Sun; Tod Olsen from Pacific Restaurant Supply; as well as site builders Mike and Anthony (plus me). Though he very much wanted to be there, Sean Heather couldn’t break away from service at the Salty Tongue, and Nigel Springthorpe of the Alibi Room missed it by a beer’s head (he was adequately forlorn). Hosting us were Pourhouse principals Brian Grant, Nick Rossi, JenniferForster, Chuck McIntosh, Chris Irving, and Jay Jones, not to mention Jay’s girlfriend Jody and Pourhouse barkeeps Daniel Pitt and Emily Shulze. I’m really looking forward to this one…

UPDATE#2 May 6th, 2009

It’s hard interviewing subjects during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I sure as hell don’t want to do it, and neither do they. But the news must out. The solution? Do it during the game, or at least between periods. Such was the case yesterday when I met Jay Jones and Chris Irving, co-proprietors of the upcoming Pourhouse, in the peanut shelled and super awesome confines of Dix on Beatty. As far as interviews go, it was short and sweet, but we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.


this arrived from Jay this morning (May 2nd)

Dear friends and supporters of the Vancouver hospitality industry,

I am very fortunate to have worked with some of the most creative people and ambitious restaurants and bars in our city – most recently having the chance to be part of Loden Vancouver and the bar at Voya. I am leaving my position as Head Bartender there, to embark on my newest and most personal project:

It is with great pride that we announce Pourhouse.

Embracing the sublime pleasure of drink, the joy of good food and the comfort of family – Pourhouse is the culmination of lifelong passion for sharing the simple indulgences of life with friends. My partners and I all grew up with family dinners being the most influential part of life – silently guiding us into the industry we love and bringing us together for this singular effort.

Just southeast of the Steam Clock in Gastown, Pourhouse will be a 135 seat room, with a 25 seat Bar. The 100-year-old building was originally home to the Leckie Boot Company, then two other restaurants in recent years. Due for opening in late summer of this year, we are thrilled to share our affections for flavours and discovery with our beloved city.

The cocktails at Pourhouse will be spirit-forward, in variations both plain and fancy. The food will be born of inspired and skillful technique, but with familiar comfort and unpretentious design. We look forward to the honour of sharing our appetites for life with you.


Jay Jones, CSS
Proprietor | Head Bartender
Pourhouse | Southeast of the Steam Clock, Gastown

The People behind the Drink & Food of Pourhouse

Jay Jones, CSS
Proprietor | Head Bartender

A Vancouver native, Jay Jones has spent his life loving drink & food. First pursuing a career in art & design, he switched to Hospitality thirteen years ago. By 1999, Jay found himself managing the Bar at Araxi in Whistler, then moving back to Vancouver to take the position of Bar Manager & Wine Director at West. After five successful years and several wine list and bartending accolades, he went on to launch the Bar program at Nu, followed by an oppourtunity as opening General Manager at Salt. The following year brought Jay to Donnelly Hospitality Management, and an exciting role as Bar & Beverage Manager; overseeing the cocktail program development throughout the companies expanding group of lounges, pubs and nightclubs. Last year, he jumped at the chance to join Loden Vancouver boutique hotel as Head Bartender of Voya. There, Jay had the chance to return to fine service and continue to hone his customization of drinking experiences. Jay’s related education has involved wine study with Dubrulle, and a Certified Specialist of Spirits diploma from the Society of Wine Educators. Over the years, he has enjoyed success and diversity of experience in a variety of related work; including developing cocktail programs for several local establishments, writing as a Bartending contributor to Montecristo Magazine, and as a competitor and judge in a range of Bartending competitions. Recently, Jay was acknowledged for his efforts in his craft as the Urban Diner Awards – Bartender of the Year. Devoted to the reclaiming of his vocation, he is proud to carry the title of Head Bartender of Pourhouse and join faculties with his friend, Chef Chris Irving.

Chris Irving
Proprietor | Executive Chef

Born in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Chris began his path to the kitchen at an early age. Formal experience began in 2002 as Commis at Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, giving him his first indelible taste for fine dining. The next phase of Chris’ journey brought him to West in Vancouver, and a range of dedicated positions, from Entremetier to Saucier – under the guidance of both David Hawksworth and Warren Geraghty. During his time at West, he pursued education at Dubrulle Institute for Culinary Arts, receiving tutelage from instructors Scott Kidd and Julian Bond. There, Chris earned a variety of diplomas and certificates in advanced courses, and won provincial gold and national bronze medals for culinary arts. The next year, he left his new home of Vancouver for London, England, and the chance to work at Restaurant Petrus under the watchful eyes of Chef Marcus Wareing and the legendary Gordon Ramsay. Running Pastry and then being promoted to Chef de Partie, Chris was involved with every station in the kitchen, gaining invaluable experience – including assisting his Chef on The Great British Chef television series and having the honour of making custard tart for The Queen. Returning home after two grueling years, Chris rejoined West for a second turn, spending his summers working with Nathan Guggenheimer (Sous Chef at Lumiere) in the kitchen at West Coast Fishing Lodge on Langara Island. Chris is incredibly enthusiastic to now embark on the new challenge of running his own kitchen at Pourhouse.

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