Smile Politely

Drink with friends at Collective Pour

Collective Pour's interior has a shiny silver bar with two empty barstools. Photo by Remington Rock.
Remington Rock

Collective Pour is the place to go with that friend group where everyone has different tastes. You and your friends have finally nailed down a date and time where you’re all free. No one has to be up early in the morning, they’re not out of town, and you can all let loose a little. But here is where it can hit another snag: one friend wants a craft IPA, another wants a trendy cocktail, and another just wants whatever has the highest ABV.

Collective Pour in Downtown Champaign can pretty much help you out with that dilemma. With dozens of options on tap, in cans, and more, everyone is sure to find something to sip on. 

Pale ales, stouts, sours, and ciders, oh my! The first glance at the tap wall and at the menu can be overwhelming at first, especially for non-adventurous beer drinkers such as myself. But that’s the purpose of Collective Pour, a bar with over 40 craft options plus bourbon and whiskey; there is the chance to try something new or not local. While beer options make up the majority of Collective Pour’s offerings, they do have a menu of house cocktails as well. I tried a couple beers, and while I’ll tell you about them, that’s not so much feedback to the business itself, so I’ll also share about the cocktails I tried. 

Remington Rock

The first beer I tried was the Gummy Vortex NE by Noon Whistle Brewing, a New England IPA (7.5%). Noon Whistle is a brewery based out of the Naperville area. Their Gummy Vortex came in a pint glass at $7.50, which, considering the ABV, I was a little surprised to see served as sixteen ounces. This IPA was a pretty intense one, with strong hoppy flavors but with a touch of candied lemon. Drinkable, yes, but pretty textbook. This is for your friend who likes IPAs, but won’t step out of the box too far.

I also tried a lavender sunset ($9). This cocktail consists of Corazon Estate Blanco tequila, lemon, lime, creme de violette, vegan foam, and a spritz of lavender and sugar. Described on the menu as “easy drinking, floral and balanced,” this drink is a lovely shade of purple and a dainty sipper. While I’m not sure if this is just a seasonal cocktail, its flavors definitely invoked spring time and warmer weather (seriously, spring, where are you?!). Lavender Sunset was very sweet and floral, and while I definitely couldn’t have more than one, it was a really nice introductory cocktail. This is for your friend who wants an Instagram-worthy drink.

Remington Rock

My second cocktail was called Where’s the Beach ($8). Oh, how I wish I were on the beach with this cocktail. Anyway, this drink was made up of Buffalo Trace, amaretto, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and sugar. As the menu says, it’s “all tiki vibes here but not overpowering” — and that’s definitely true. It was definitely sweeter, but even the bourbon neat guy in the group ordered one after trying it, so it suits either palate. This is for the friend that needs a drink after a long week and wants to channel vacation.

The last thing I tried was another beer, one called Sofie ($8) by Goose Island Beer Co., a Farmhouse Ale – Saison (6.5%), not pictured. This beer was good. I’m just telling you right out of the gate because it was my first thought when trying it. Described as “wine barrel-aged with an abundance of hand-zested orange peel. Spicy white pepper notes contrast the citrus tartness. The light, refreshing, creamy vanilla finish will excite those fond of Champagne.” Yeah, yeah, craft beer, and all that. This is for your friend who’s looking for something other than a PBR tall boy (respect to you if you’re that friend, though).

There is no fluff at Collective Pour; drinks don’t come with garnishes, the selection of beer and bourbon is rather straightforward, and it’s not crowded with beer barrels doubling as stools or a wall of board games (but there are a handful of board games and card games available to play). Collective Pour is there for you to have a drink. There is a lot of space, and in nicer weather, they open up retractable doors. It’s unpretentious and emits the vibe that it genuinely just wants to provide a positive drinking experience for its guests.

Sadly, there isn’t always food available, so after a few brewskis you’re bound to head off in search of snacks, but Collective Pour is there to meet your friends with varying tastes and catch up. It’s a bar for townies, as I don’t expect a lot of students interested in $9 IPAs (yet, but their time will come). Collective Pour is a nice place to gather without any airs — and that’s not at all a dig. So if you haven’t checked out, you should, if not to drink on a Sunday afternoon and play a slapdash version of Cards Against Humanity with your partner.

Collective Pour
340 N Neil St
M-Th 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
F 3 p.m. to midnight
Sa 1 p.m. to midnight
Su 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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