I’m no quantum physicist, but I’m convinced there are places where the past, present and future exist—and can be experienced—all at once.
One of them is the Third Pig in Sebastopol, which effortlessly bridges the vibe of an old-school neighborhood drinking hole and the craft cocktail moment drenching much of wine country while pointing the way to a happy place where, very soon, it will all make sense.
The rapid shift of our small towns into tourist economies has left more than a few of us suffering a little whiplash from the velocity of change. Sometimes, you wanna go where everybody knows your name. Welcome to Third Pig.
“It has definitely been an evolution,” says Alex Bowman, who owns the bar and lounge with his wife, Katie. Some may be familiar with the couple’s other local effort, Bowman Cellars, a boutique family wine venture specializing in Russian River Valley pinot noir and chardonnay, among other varietals.
“We were always committed to supporting our community by offering a fun place to gather while offering good service in an approachable environment,” Bowman continues. “But it took us some time to settle into being a bar and lounge and not a craft cocktail bar, which was what we did at first. We wanted to be both—a bar that was elevated but comfortable for everyone, a place where you can get a shot and a beer and a craft cocktail, and I think we’ve done that.”
They certainly have. On a recent Wednesday evening—karaoke night, as it turned out—a throng of revelers grew into a full house, drawing from across the social spectrum. Special craft cocktails on offer included Break The Bank (Bank Note Whiskey, Creme de Noyaux, Lemon Angostura Bitters, ginger) and Beet The Devil (New Alchemy Gin, lemon guava vanilla beet juice, allspice dram), as well as the spectacular, low ABV and whimsically-named, 70’s Bush (sloe gin, St. George Terroir Gin, Velvet Falernum, pineapple and lime).
Classic, regular offerings include Blood & Sand (Bank Note Whiskey, Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth and orange juice ) and their Black Manhattan (Spirit Works Rye, Averna Caribbean Spice Bitters, black lemon bitters).
Of course, the most classic offering is the perfect pairing of a beer. The boilermaker is available in two arrangements: Miller High Life and a shot of Old Forester Rye or Modelo and a shot of Luna Azul tequila.
“We’re really happy with our executive chef, Noel Hernandez, who has been making smash burgers on Thursdays. People say they are the best in the county,” says Bowman. “So, I think we want to offer more food options, integrate with other community events and expand on our local live music.”
Thinking of the “third place” concept advocated by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg—a space that’s not one’s home and not one’s work but meaningful for social well-being—it seems that the Third Pig has leaned into the concept and coalesced a real community. How have the Bowmans cracked this essential equation where others have often failed?
“The concept of the Third Pig in the story of the Three Little Pigs is that he worked hard, and it paid off, so we wanted to create a space where everyone gets to walk in, be welcomed and relax. It’s a place where hard work pays off. That’s what we do at Bowman Cellars, in our home and at Third Pig—we want folks who we are serving to feel welcomed and relax,” says Bowman. “Sonoma County is as great as it is because people feel welcome here, there are good people here and there is a diversity of lifestyles, so we kept that in mind. And so the bar is just an extension of our larger community.”
Third Pig’s New Year’s Eve offerings will be no exception. Planned festivities include a burlesque show, gogo dancers and an array of special cocktails. DJ Dray Lopez will be on hand to facilitate a dance party and midnight toast. The early bird ticket includes Champagne and treats from Chef Noel for $45.
“It’s going to be fun, and the tickets will sell out fast, so get on it!” encourages Bowman.
Tickets are available via instagram.com/thirdpigbar (link in bio).