Former Marine says all are welcome in his downtown bar


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Submitted: Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:22am
Updated: Mon, 11/18/2013 - 1:22pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It looks like a bar and it sounds like a bar, but Pour House in Downtown Wilmington stands out from other places like it.

You might remember a few years ago when Marines lodged a complaint against the City of Wilmington and a number of bars because of what they described as discrimination against members of the military.

“Various bar owners are targeting Marines and excluding us and keeping us out of the establishments,” said Marine Kevin Nicholson back in 2008.

Now, one former Marine has a bar of his own.

“Anyone can come in here that is twenty-one and looking to have fun,” said Joe Apkarian, co-owner of the Pour House at 103 Market Street downtown.

Apkarian served in the Marine Special Operations Command from 2004to September of this year. He decided to put skills he learned in the military to work a little differently as co-owner of Pour House.

“At the end of the day, you are still managing people, you’re still working in an environment you have to be professional in and have to do your job,” said Apkarian. “Whether it is military or it is civilian life.”

He says it’s the same thing, just different hours. And as for rowdy Marines…

“Do Marines sometimes get a little bit of a bad reputation, yes,” said Apkarian. “But at the same time, I see people in general doing foolish things Downtown.”

Apkarian says the journey wasn’t easy. He and his partner even had to take out personal loans. But he says owning Pour House gives him an opportunity to give back to other veterans through fundraisers and a sense of everyone is welcome.

9 Comments

  • John says:

    Having served in Iraq with Joe, the opening of Pour House is great news all around. The City gets another stable business which gives back to the community and some business owners with unlimited integrity. I respect the concerns of some who have posted but assure you they are unfounded here. Don’t take my word for it, stop in and check the place out and let time show you that Pour House is going to be a true asset to the community.

  • J Michael. says:

    I’ve worked in a bar downtown now for about 6yrs. Marines are just like everybody else that comes downtown. They’re good ones & bad ones. The bad ones tend to be young. But I’ve dealt w/ both types. Thank them for there service & treat them like everybody else.

  • chris says:

    Ah the years of the yuppies, freaks and geeks in downtown Wilmington may be over. Let me tell you about Marines and Former Marines. They are usually high wage earners, have a full complete family, have a great credit score, are educated above their peers. Yes we are proud of our service and brotherhood, we stand for the little guy, and we like the greater percentage of our peers can be individually off for a night.; Overall look around downtown when you see a table a Circa, Copper Penny, Hell’s Kitchen and other up scale establishments, their are short haircuts, paying the bill, tipping the staff. they are not the freaks sitting in the alleys or wandering the streets.

    Oh, incase one of the thugs that prey on the weak in our downtown, hope when it happens to you a Marine is around, they will step in, not run away or ignore your plight.

    In the future, just thank them for their service.

  • 1492 says:

    Unfortunately, for way too long, Marines in bars in Wilmington, have exacerbated their own problems by not acting in a way parallel with conventional society. I do understand that aggression in a warrior is a positive thing, but we still can’t let that spill over into the rest of our society with a simple “thank you for your service”.

    I support our armed services, but there are limits on that.

  • live in the city says:

    wait to they all get drunk and start fighting we see then if all is welcome. i dont go downtown any way day or night, u get killed rob rape. down there

  • DJ-RU says:

    Anyone know if this bar needs a DJ ???

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Ask them. Maybe let them know where you have previously worked. Maybe show them how your music style is consistent with the atmosphere and customer base they are targeting?

  • guestwho says:

    I guess I’ll scratch this place off the list of bars to visit. Wilmington bar owner’s “discriminated” against marines for a reason. You don’t have to visit downtown Wilmington too many times to realize the bad reputation is well earned. If the marines don’t like it then thank your fellow marines.

  • Kitty C says:

    I visit Wilmington frequently and have never had a problem downtown. I’ve met plenty of Marines out-and-about and they’ve been nothing but respectful. I applaud the owners of the Pour House for all their hard work raising money for the MARSOC Foundation(helping the families of injured and fallen Marines) and the American Cancer Society. I also honor them for their service!

    Rock on!

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