Rustic and urban, Poco toasts the neighborhood

He came up with the idea when he visited his partner's mother on the Oregon coast. While Mom may not have driven him to the bar, Peter Moore said he talked about Poco Wine Room with his partner, Bart Reynolds, on their return trip after staying with her for a weekend.

Moore, a thin blond man in his early 40s, wondered why there wasn't a rustic, intimate wine bar on Capitol Hill like there was in Manzanita. Moore and Reynolds also enjoy the getaway offered in the small town, which is one hour south of Astoria on the coast highway.

"We like to escape the city, and that is a short distance. We love that part of Oregon," he said. "We love the beach."


Moore and Reynolds stayed in a resort of coast cabins, which are adjacent to a wine bar, Vino, which is owned by their friends, Pavel and Gary. "Vino is very tiny," he said. "It's about 450 square feet, but it's very comfortable. It had a rustic beach atmosphere with an urban twist. It's a special place," he said. "It's special because of the people that own it, because of their friendliness."

It's this same concept that Moore brings to Poco. The two-level bar is intimate, airy and mixes urban chrome and rustic wood with darker, autumnal colors to create the same mix he experienced at Vino.

Business has been solid and diverse since opening in November. Poco offers appetizers and an assortment of Northwest and boutique wines. Moore said his partner was encouraging about the wine room from the moment they discussed it.

While Moore was an elementary educator, and Reynolds works in computer science, they agreed to bring their passion for wine to Capitol Hill, which Moore operates. Reynolds is generally at the wine room as well, but he was away on business. The absence of his partner didn't prevent Moore from greeting or thanking every patron with a wide smile when they walked through the door or shuffled back out into the cold night.

"I was sitting at Vino with Bart," Moore said, "and I asked, "Why is there nothing like Vino on Capitol Hill?' We talked about that a long time and we couldn't answer that question."

They opened the wine room with the hope of adding to the neighborhood's character, as well as attracting people back to new businesses. "We want to show that Capitol Hill is a place to come ... with your mate, your friends, your co-workers, and so the seed was planted to open the wine room."

Prior to opening the bar, Moore and Reynolds met in March 2004 at the Perkatory Café, which is now closed. They would have coffee together, and they became good friends. They started dating in August 2005.

"We connected before we started dating," Moore said. "We said we're going to take our time with this. We went to the Elliott Bay Bookstore, and Bart asked, 'Would you like to date?' and I said, 'I'm dying to date you.'"

Moore and Reynolds have been with each other since. Longtime residents of Capitol Hill, they plan to stay and be connected as business owners to the community. They hope to become more involved in the long-term plans for Capitol Hill and how business and residents will be affected with new changes in the neighborhood.

"First of all," Moore said, "Capitol Hill is the densest neighborhood in all of Seattle. There is a migration into the city. There hasn't been anything like this for a long time. It's sad to see some of the businesses get replaced."

He said Poco will not replace businesses like Thumpers, but that most of the development is good. Although, Moore said he is saddened when he sees an independent business being displaced by a corporate enterprise, and that independent business has been what has made Capitol Hill thrive.

Now that they're open, Moore is ready to recommend wines to novices and connoisseurs alike. Their extensive selection may also entice Gary and Pavel. Asked if their inspiring friends had come up for a visit, Moore said, "They have not been to Poco yet. It's hard for them to get away, but they will get here. They'll get here."

Poco Wine Room is at 1408 E. Pine St.; The bar is open every day except Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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