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Belmont Pour House to Downsize as Lakeview Block Struggles

By Serena Dai | February 10, 2014 8:25am
 Belmont Pour House, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., will be half its size when it reopens later this month.
Belmont Pour House, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., will be half its size when it reopens later this month.
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Facebook/Belmont Pour House

LAKEVIEW — Local bar Belmont Pour House plans to officially reopen later this month at half its current size after spending January ruminating over whether to stay on the struggling street.

The bar at 1113 W. Belmont Ave. reincarnated as Belmont Pour House last spring after spending several years as sports bar Cuna Sports Lounge. 

It's been closed for about a month as owner Paolo Acuna renegotiated the lease, said Kevin Fleming, the bar's manager. It was open over the weekend for some parties but will not reopen for about two weeks as the bar downsizes.

The bar's been around for five years, Fleming said, and when the lease came up, its owners decided to think about whether or not to renew.

The commercial strip on Belmont Avenue west of Kenmore Avenue has been struggling to attract customers — the empty storefronts and sheer number of shuttered businesses in the last five years show that, he said.

Belmont Pour House suffered too, and its staff hopes reducing the bar's size will help make the business work.

"We've really struggled," Fleming said. "We've done our part to sustain ourselves. It comes to the point where you just gotta reduce."

Toy and card game store Galactic Force, 1121 W. Belmont Ave., closed last year. Vintage clothing shop Suburban Secrets, 1117 W. Belmont Ave., moved online-only last spring after just a year and a half in the storefront. Resale shop Something Old Something New, 1056 W. Belmont Ave., has had going-out-of-business signs on its store on-and-off for the last year.

Dark Matter Coffee was supposed to open a cafe in the former Suburban Secrets location in the fall but has yet to emerge.

And on Saturday, even the Chase Bank branch at 1240 W. Belmont Ave. closed after the company decided to not renew its lease.

"It's partially the economy," Fleming said. "It's partially this part of the street. We fight, we fight. By being able to downsize, I think that will be a huge help to us."

The bar's clientele consists mainly of residents and people from theaters Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., and Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. The bar's large size detracted from having a "neighborhood feel," and downsizing will hopefully help, Fleming said.

In addition to size reduction, Belmont Pour House has revamped its menu. It went from Creole to contemporary, and when Acuna took over the kitchen last fall, it changed to simple, fresh bar fare to keep it more of a "neighborhood place," Fleming said.

The menu also will feature more seasonal items after the reopening, he said.

Belmont Pour House, which boasts a selection of more than 40 craft beers, will stay on the east side of its current location.