Experiences Await

The menu at Flights, as of press—because it changes every two weeks—contained shrimp wrapped in prosciutto. Photo by Bethany Turner

The menu at Flights, as of press—because it changes every two weeks—contained shrimp wrapped in prosciutto. Photo by Bethany Turner

Flights
1513-9 N. Howe St.
(910) 363-1202

Flights is taking off in Southport. Opened earlier this year, Flights—a tapas, wine and craft beer bar—is tucked in the Wingate Plaza next to Slainte Irish Pub (the two businesses are owned by the same company, sharing the same kitchen space).

The name is taken from a widely used term in wine and beer circles: a flight. A flight is a grouping of like things for sampling and comparing. The meaning of the word is also connected symbolically to the idea of actually taking flight—that the experience is going to be a transportive adventure.

General Manager David Thorpe is enthusiastic about bringing forth the reality of the Flights concept to the Southport area: A sophisticated bar that is designed for people to have the opportunity to try a variety of new things “in a laid-back, relaxing, not rushed atmosphere; to enjoy the wine, beer and food,” explained server Joe Sappio. “It’s all about the experience.”

The cold plate features green peanut hummus, pimento cheese, and pumpkin goat cheese. Photo by Bethany Turner

The cold plate features green peanut hummus, pimento cheese, and pumpkin goat cheese. Photo by Bethany Turner

To keep the experience fresh, “Flights Bites,”  the tapas-style menu, is changed every two weeks, debuting on Thursdays. Some of the choices on this current menu were: The Crab Timbale, crab and sweet potato made in a drum-like pan, served over a fresh tomato slice, seasoned with chives and extra virgin olive oil; the Cold Plate Spread, a trio of  green peanut hummus, pumpkin goat cheese and pimento cheese served with pita chips; and Prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, large shrimp wrapped in prosciutto with a red wine glaze and served with radish chips.

Don’t know what to order? Order several. These hot and cold plates are meant to be shared amongst the table, a colorful array of culinary specialties, “where plate size may be small but the portions are not,” emphasized both Thorpe and Sappio.

The wine menu also is ever evolving. The wine tasting changes every Friday, where six fine wines are featured. Patrons are given a list with the name, region, description of the wine, and price per glass and per bottle. There is a space for note taking, so as not to forget the wines that especially entice the senses. Flights also has a stocked inventory and the wines are available for retail.

And not to disappoint beer lovers, Flights offers beer tastings of the six beers on draft, which also includes a sampling glass. With the growing number of craft beers available, many beer drinkers are becoming connoisseurs. Server Bob Hoke explained two of the very different beers on tap: “This is a stout, one of my favorites right now, Founder’s Breakfast Stout. It tastes like coffee, oatmeal and double chocolate.” Indeed, a dark thick beer.

“Where this,” he said while pouring a sample of a light, crisp beer, “is a pale ale—the Goose Island Pale Ale from Chicago. It’s hoppy.”

beers-flights

Flights offers an array of craft beers by the bottle, from old favorites like Dixie Lager to the Troegenator Double Bock by Tröegs Brewing Company or Goose Island’s Matilda, a Belgian-style pale ale. Photo by Rebecca Jones

Hoppy? Hops are one of the four main ingredients of beer, a bitter plant that counters the sweet malts. The hop-to-malt ratio, along with the other ingredients and how all the ingredients are manipulated in the brewing process, determines the degree of the hoppy characteristic of a beer. As Sappio succinctly explained some hops can evoke a “sweet aftertaste at the end, like a grapefruit.” For Goose Island, this was true.

Like the wine, the draft beer flavors are stocked and available for retail in their bottle form for mix-and-match four packs.

Flights also has a Wine Club. For  a small yearly fee, members receive discounts on wines and first-priority invites to special events. “Some of the special events are theme events,” explained Thorpe. “We’ve done an Italian night, with wines from Italy and paired them with Italian dishes, and a California night.”

The next special event will take place on December 7th, dubbed “Champagne Decadence,” a tasting of seven champagnes and a delightfully secretive menu under wraps, although Thorpe did confide, “there will be caviar.”

Flights is open Monday through Thursdays 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays through Saturdays 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Flight is generally closed on Sundays but available for special events, private and holiday parties.

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine