When it opens later this year, Wichita’s new downtown brewery Pour House will have beer, sandwiches — and probably some of the prettiest Facebook pictures in the business.
The brew pub, which should open after Thanksgiving in the former Mumbai Rail space in the Rock Island Depot at Union Station, 711 E. Douglas, has lured one of Wichita’s longtime bar managers out of retirement to serve as its general manager.
Darrin Hackney, well known to longtime Wichitans for helping to open Mort’s Martini Bar in 1996 and managing Heroes Sports Bar & Grill in the early 2000s, will be in charge at Pour House. (He also helped run Chicago Cab Company, one of Old Town’s original clubs that operated in the mid-1990s.)
Hackney left the bar scene in 2011 to open his own photography business, and he’s been hired for weddings, fashion shoots and corporate jobs ever since.
“It’s like getting back on a bike again,” Hackney said of his return to the bar business.
He said he’s been talking with Walnut River Brewing Co. owner B.J. Hunt, who is opening Pour House with partners Rick Goehring and Travis Rohrberg, for more than a year.
“We just kind of started talking and he said, ‘You worked at Mort’s? We need to talk,’” Hackney said.
Hackney said he likes that the business is being built from scratch, and he said the owners are “super creative.”
They’re deep into construction on the interior of the brewery, which has lots of pallet wood on the walls and a brand new bar on the south side of the space. Mumbai Rail owners had it on the east side.
He said that Pour House will start out slow with its food, at first focusing on appetizers, salads and sandwiches. Once they get that down, they’ll likely expand the menu.
“My biggest thing is, we’ve got Cargill on one side of us and a new call center on the other side, and I don’t want long ticket times,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re efficient and dial it in, and after that, we’ll figure out what we’re good at and grow.”
He’s also excited about the giant patio at the bar, which he estimates will open around St. Patrick’s Day. It can hold 90 people and will provide a fun place to hang out when the weather warms up again, he said. The interior space will seat about 68. There’s also an upstairs space that will be used for private events and possibly overflow seating.
As for his photo business, Hackeny said he’ll still shoot headshots, and he is the self-appointed head of social media for Pour House, but otherwise, he’s putting his business on hold. Over the weekend, he published a photo of the new bar with its name glowing courtesy of lighted letters placed in the windows.
For now, though, he’ll be focused on getting the new brew pub online.
“I want everybody drinking beers and talking shop in a laid-back, casual atmosphere,” he said.
I’ll let you now when Pour House has an opening date.