Erman brothers to launch sexy bar “Portal Cocktails” on Fourth Ave

The design goal from the beginning was to create a cozy and intimate escape.

Mark Erman and Eric Erman, the brothers who own Fourth Avenue restaurant Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar, announced their cocktail bar Portal Cocktails will open on Saturday, February 29.

The 600-square-foot room at 220 N. Fourth Ave. behind Ermanos will seat 35-40.

“We have always been drawn to bars that have the exciting element of discovery,” Mark said. “The design goal from the beginning was to create a cozy and intimate escape, and the Portal name naturally flowed as the architectural design progressed.”

Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mark and Eric began conceptualizing Portal in summer 2018.

“The initial design direction was to create an intimate and comfortable space within Ermanos,” Mark said. “A place within a place. To get there, we had to build a portal. We reassembled the dream team of collaborators from Ermanos including architects Rob Paulus and Kenneth Lowe, and Ryan Trayte with Saywells Design. Paulus and Lowe came up with an exciting airship-like design with parametric curves. In order to execute the vision, we tapped Intech Aviation, a local firm that specializes in building out private jet interiors.”

Peeking through the narrow rectangular window at the black door, you’d think you need a password to enter—you don’t need one though. Step inside past the deep mirrored entry and you’ll be instantly transported into another world.

Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Wood slats under pink light at Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although the bar is jam-packed with details, the first thing to grab your attention is the room itself with two miles of hand-milled poplar wood slats curving elegantly along the walls. The slats move and curve in broad waves, merging around a mirror oculus.

Lights accent the slats, changing colors at the bartender’s whim; colors range from an energetic vibrant pink to warm, cozy amber. Behind the wooden slats, recycled denim insulation absorbs excess noise to allow intimate conversation.

Behind the bar, a portal-like stained glass window from Ochoa Stained Glass and Saywells Design Company glows alongside accent-lit gemstones.

Mark Erman, Eric Erman, and Ryne Hoffman at Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mark Erman, Eric Erman, and Ryne Hoffman at Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Portal bar manager Ryne Hoffman previously tended the bar at AC Hotel Tucson Downtown and won Cocktail Fight 2019. The beverage menu will feature seven modern classics and seven Portal cocktails.

“A few of the modern classics we will be including for the opening are Three Dots and a Dash, Kentucky Buck, Oaxaca Old Fashioned, Naked and Famous, Penicillin, and Pornstar Martini,”  Mark said. “Eric and Ryne collaborated on an espresso martini that will be served on a nitro tap. We also will have a large format tiki bowl that will be an exciting addition.”

Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Portal Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Portal is also hiring a bartender and a host/hostess. Interested applicants can email portalcocktails@gmail.com.

Operating hours will be 4 p.m. – midnight Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Portal Cocktails is located at 220 N. Fourth Ave. For more information, visit portalcocktails.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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