San Diego-based eatery Soda & Swine will take over the building formerly occupied by Porter’s Pub, members of the University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) announced. The restaurant is well-known for its menu consisting of meatball sandwiches and soft drinks, as well as the cocktails at its adjacent bar called Polite Provisions.
The location next to the Student Center will be the restaurant’s third location in San Diego. The original branch and bar opened February 2013 in University Heights, followed by a second restaurant July 2015 in Liberty Station. The restaurant’s ownership group, Consortium Holdings, was co-founded by restaurateurs Nathan Stanton and UCSD alumnus Arsalun Tafazoli.
“UCAB considers a lot of factors when getting new vendors, including quality of food, proposed prices, and sustainability practices,” said UCAB Vice Chair Ashley Awe. “But the number one thing that UCAB looked for was how well the vendor would fit into the space and the UCSD community. We felt like Soda & Swine serves their food at an appropriate price point and is committed to being a part of the UCSD community.”
Food will be an integral part of the updated space. UCAB decided to let the Porter’s Pub lease expire in part because food sales were lagging behind alcohol sales under the previous management.
“When evaluating Soda & Swine, the selection committee found that the restaurant offered quality food at a reasonable price point,” UCAB Chair Luke Wang told The Triton. “Additionally, Soda & Swine will bring new offerings to students that also accommodate vegetarian and gluten-free options.”
The pub space has been empty since June 2015, when UCAB allowed the Porter’s lease to expire. Prior to this, Porter’s had been serving beer, burgers, and sandwiches at the location since 1993. Like Soda & Swine, the restaurant was founded by a UCSD alumnus, in this case Robert “Bob” Porter, for whom the pub was named.
Porter struggled to keep the restaurant solvent, and in 2007, transferred ownership to the pub’s most recent proprietor, Stephen Lawler. Lawler described the news that Porter’s was closing as a shock. Some fans of the pub even decried the move as part of an attempt to gentrify the campus.
However, students who enjoyed the hip-hop and indie-rock shows at the pub don’t have to be concerned. University Centers will take over management and booking of the stage room, and the performers they book are not expected to be affected by the vibe of Soda & Swine. In the past, the space has played host to artists such as Tech N9ne, Run the Jewels, Too Short, and KRS-One.
Additionally, alcohol connoisseurs and those seeking a quick drink between classes will find comfort in Soda & Swine’s beverage offerings. The alcohol license at the UCSD location will allow them to sell beer and wine during business hours and concerts. Their other locations have a wide variety of local brews and national favorites available at reasonable prices.
Filling the pub space was one of many priorities for UCAB, which has experienced turnover of several vendors recently. The space formerly occupied by Dlush in Price Center East will open early in the 2017–2018 academic year as Seed + Sprout, a macro bowl restaurant with healthy options for students in a hurry. The Round Table Pizza and Outback Adventures Surf Shop locations are currently being evaluated to find better options for students.
“Soda & Swine will offer exciting new dining options for students adding to the portfolio that University Centers already offers,” said Wang. “We believe students will find the food offerings refreshing and the price appropriate. Hopefully, the opening of Soda & Swine will drive more foot traffic to the Student Center.”
Renovation of the pub space will be completed before Fall Quarter 2017. Soda & Swine is expected to move in and open towards the end of the 2017–18 academic year, though the specific date is not yet determined.
Rohan Grover is a staff writer for The Triton.