All-day watering hole

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Craft geeks: In Auburn’s quaint Old Town, Jordan Minyard attaches a bolt to a cable as he prepares to hang the neighborhood’s newest sign: The Pour Choice (177 Sacramento Street). Though the business models its logo after 19th century designs, its white insignia glistens with newness.

“We wanted to fit the charm of Old Town, but have newer, fun, unique flares to it, so it’s more current and different from what’s here,” Minyard says.

That seems to be a mission of the husband-and-wife team: To be unlike anything else in Auburn. Set to have its soft opening November 15, the “social watering hole” certainly looks different, with lustrous black tiles, Edison bulbs and marble countertops.

The menu is also unique to Auburn—heck, to Sacramento—with an obsessive focus on coffee and beer. On tap will be 18 craft beers (including heavy hitters like nearby Moonraker Brewing Co.), nitro coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters of Santa Cruz (as well as single-origin brews)—and six kegs of wine. With the mix of uppers and downers, the storefront will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until midnight on weekends.

Small plates will include a build-your-own bratwurst dish and charcuterie plates sourced by the owner of Portland, Oregon’s Olympia Provisions, Elias Cairo—“a super good dude who spent six years in Switzerland and just learned the way that sausage is made from the old-world approach to it,” Minyard says.

Minyard geeks out about the meaning of craft. His wife Melinda comes from a line of Napa Valley winemakers, and after reconnecting with that heritage by sampling the varietals around St. Helena, the two native Auburnites directed their entrepreneurial tendencies toward their love of food and drink. The couple’s research included a class at the American Barista & Coffee School in Portland. As for beer, Minyard and his brother have been experimenting with their own home brews.

“As you begin to introduce hops,” he says, “and realize there’s flavors in there I never knew … could exist in beer—it opens up your world.”

Beyond the thoughtfully curated food and drink, the couple wants Auburn to have a social space for intimate conversations. “So, no TVs,” Minyard says.

As a young couple, the restaurateurs believe they understand their own target demographic. Minyard has noticed how often they feel the need to travel all the way to Sacramento to hunt for new flavors, sampling small dishes and drinks as they go. Now, they hope to capture some of that energy and business in Auburn.

“We feel like we need to retain the business that’s already here, that’s leaving right now, that’s going to Sac because Sac has all these amazing options,” he says. “We want people to be able to stay here and have some options as well, and we want people from Sac to come up here as well and realize: Man, Auburn’s an awesome place.”