From the Crew Behind Craft & Commerce, Consortium Holdings Opens Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine in Normal Heights

February 19, 2013

The dual-concept launch of Polite Provisions and sister restaurant, Soda & Swine, puts one of the nation's most respected bartenders, Erick Castro (of San Francisco's Rickhouse and Bourbon & Branch fame), alongside two-star Michelin Executive Chef, Jason McLeod, to bring a renewed spirit of community to a bustling street corner of one of San Diego's most eclectic, burgeoning neighborhoods, Normal Heights. Helmed by Southern California hospitality collective, Consortium Holdings (Noble Experiment, Craft & Commerce, UnderBelly, Neighborhood, El Dorado), Polite Provisions aims to revive and modernize the golden era of the neighborhood drugstore with spirited cocktails prepared with housemade bitters, soda pop, tinctures and syrups, as a nod to those ingredients' medicinal uses. The adjoining eatery, Soda & Swine, features a straightforward menu consisting of two classic staples: meatballs and apple pie, keeping in line with the simplicity of Main Street America.

Within just the past few months, both Polite Provisions and Soda Swine have brought national attention to San Diego’s culinary and cocktail landscapes, with pre-launch buzz in Imbibe magazine’s “The Imbibe 75” of 2013, Eater National's “40 Most Anticipated Openings of 2013”, Details magazine's “Where to Drink in 2013” as well as one the “The Bars to Watch in 2013” by The Spirits Business.

The Polite Provisions concept reminisces on the vintage drugstore and pharmacy days in both menu and design – an institution of Main Street America where people would gather together to exchange thoughtful dialogue at the soda fountain. While carefully reviewing vintage pharmaceutical books packed with housemade recipes, mixologist Erick Castro found his inspiration for Polite Provisions’ expansive menu, which focuses on spirited cocktails prepared with housemade bitters, soda pop, tinctures and syrups, as a nod to those ingredients' medicinal uses. 

Polite Provisions’ 2,200-square-foot space houses one ornate bar setup – a massive, 46-custom tap system featuring 18 craft beers on tap, three carbonated cocktails, two non-carbonated spirituous cocktails, two non-alcoholic carbonated craft sodas, eight white wines, nine red wines, one tap of each - amaro, dry vermouth, aperitif, and sherry - one handle for ice cold coffee, and two spirits…all on draft. While the draft cocktails are served only off of the tap handles, all other handcrafted libations are mixed to order on the spot. The bar top is also equipped with four seltzer draft handles with ice-cold soda water.

Adding to Polite Provisions' neighborhood feel is a culture of collaboration behind the bar among the nation’s leading visionaries. Polite Provisions' dedicated “bartender’s chef table” features seminars and classes by Castro, as well as an elite group of guest bartenders invited from all corners of the country to share their knowledge of this progressing industry with the general public.  

Polite Provisions’ expansive menu maintains a focus on spirited cocktails, a selection of dessert & champagne cocktails, craft punch bowls, and beer cocktails developed in partnership with local brewers, however Erick Castro also plans to showcase one of his newfound passions – non-alcoholic house made sodas.  Vintage classics like Egg Creams, Phosphates and Fizzes take center stage, alongside a rare selection of gourmet bottled sodas such as Jackson Hole High Mountain Huckleberry, Sioux City Crème Soda and more.

Inside Polite Provisions
While featuring over 50 different flavors of bitters behind the bar, Polite Provisions has partnered with one of today's top artisanal bitters makers, Scrappy's Bitters, to create an original recipe specifically for the neighborhood bar. Polite Provisions’ “Raisins & Baking Spice” Bitters is custom tailored by Scrappy’s to complement their particular era and style of cocktails.  

Catering to the growing number of amaro-crazed bartenders, sommeliers, and general imbibers, Polite Provisions features a lineup of rare amari, a popular bittersweet Italian herbal liqueur commonly consumed as an after-dinner digestif. While impressive amaro selections are appearing at ambitious new bars across the country, San Diego has yet to see a lineup like this, including a 40-year old Fernet Branca Vintage 1970s.

Inside Soda & Swine
Neighboring eatery, Soda & Swine features a straightforward menu by Consortium’s Corporate Chef, Jason McLeod. In keeping in line with the simplicity of Main Street America, McLeod’s menu consists of two classic staples: meatballs and apple pie. The meat, ground in an old-fashioned butcher shop setting, is available in basic or “smashed” meatball form, in various flavors including chicken, pork, beef, chorizo and vegan alternatives. A variety of savory sauces, like marinara, mushroom cream, chipotle or primavera, are then added, with a finishing touch of cheese if preferred. Potato Puree, Mac & Cheese, or Anson Mills Grits make up a number of sides, which can be added on to order. Small plates or salads like a Scotch Egg, Chipotle Coleslaw, or Fried Pizza Balls are served à la carte.

Full Menu!
All food from the neighborhood eatery can be ordered from within Polite Provisions to enjoy while inside the bar, and the late night hours of operation make Soda & Swine the perfect option for some tasty eats after a night out, or even a midnight craving fix. Soda & Swine’s doors open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight with a brunch menus offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends only.

Polite Provisions is open daily from 4pm to 2am and is located at 4696 30th Ave, San Diego, Ca 92116. For more information please call 619.677.DRUG or visit  Soda & Swine is located at 2943 Adams Ave. San Diego, Ca 92116. For more information call 619.269.SODA or visit Doors open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight, with a brunch menu offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends only.

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