Business

Lounge brings cheers to Port Orchard

110 Lounge proprietor Kim Cherry has turned bartending into an art.   - Charlie Bermant
110 Lounge proprietor Kim Cherry has turned bartending into an art.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

It’s a popular local pastime to sneer at Port Orchard, to portray the glass as three-quarters empty rather than a quarter full.

This is especially true downtown, even as several new businesses move toward establishing a sophisticated flavor.

One of these, the 110 Lounge, directly refutes the idea that Port Orchard is not really a safe place to drink.

“We are a classic cocktail lounge,” said owner/manager Kim Cherry. “We offer a nice establishment where people can be themselves, serving cocktails, great beer, fine wines and a selection of appetizers.”

Throughout, the lounge participates in the good-natured ribbing about Port Orchard’s limitations.

Cherry said customers often express surprise to find an enclave of calm in the middle of a town with a rowdy reputation — even though bar fights are now few and far between.

And the lounge’s TV ads feature the tag line “...in Port Orchard....no, really. In Port Orchard.”

With the idea that special events can make a place special, the lounge is sponsoring its third annual Singles Auction and Dinner Date for American Cancer Society and SK Relay For Life, to take place on April 22.

At that time, 14 women and 12 men, all local singles, will go “on the block” where the spectators can bid.

Along with the company of the person for the evening, the couple will have a planned, expense-paid evening at a local restaurant or attraction.

Cherry does not know of any couples who met as part of the auction, adding that many of those matched didn’t even follow through on their date.

This could change this year, since the event is now part of the package.

And there will be a “coordinator” to properly introduce the couple and make sure they get off on the right foot.

All of those working on the event have volunteered to do so, including National Champion Auctioneer Jeff Stokes.

Another change this year is advanced ticket sales, since attendees last year far exceeded the lounge’s 66-person capacity.

Aside from the auction, Cherry is hosting an “April in Paris” reception on April 6.

This includes a wine tasting, complete with background on each product, along with a selection of Cherry’s increasingly famous appetizers.

After working at the lounge since it opened in 2005, Kim and her business partner Don Ryan purchased it last year.

Since then, it has cultivated a reputation as a meeting place for people who would rather talk than yell, or spend time in a conversation rather than watching a ballgame or listening to loud music.

Cherry strives to provide a safe environment, which is why at any given time the clientele has a female majority.

Women come into the lounge knowing they won’t be bothered by a drunk or treated with disrespect. If this should happen, Cherry will step in for a course correction.

“We keep a close eye on our customers,” she said. “There is no violence or rudeness.”

Ryan has another reason why women gravitate to the lounge, especially with their dates.

“Women like coming here because there is no loud TV in the background,” he said, “and their dates or husbands aren’t always looking over their shoulder to see who’s scored in the last 10 minutes.”

One misconception about the 110 is that it serves light food prepared by its neighbor, Amy’s by the Bay. In fact, Cherry makes the appetizers herself, creating them according to her own imagination.

And in a rare move, she allows customers to bring in food from other sources. This could be Amy’s, or they could even have a pizza delivered.

Even as business has dropped off slightly, Cherry and Ryan are confident enough in their success to plan opening another lounge.

Right now, Gig Harbor seems to be the most likely location.

“If we open another lounge, it will need to be in a lively downtown,” Cherry said. “We feed off of that energy.”

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