Food & Drink » Nightlife

Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

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Yes, New Year’s Eve party plans are in the works - DAVID RANGEL
  • David Rangel
  • Yes, New Year’s Eve party plans are in the works
Ware met Phipps at Arcade, where Ware credits “having really good booze” as one of the reasons they’ve partnered for Paramour. “He and his friends would come in and try to stump the bartender.” The two-month will-they, won’t-they turned into an invite to help design Paramour within Ware’s dream specifications, no expenses spared.

Ware’s brought on board a gaggle of industry badasses, including, but not limited to, his No. 2 David Rangel, who’s curated a 100-bottle wine and Champagne* list and will run the front of house; Bohanan’s alumni Andrew Hack and Jake Corney will join the bartending staff and bring their hand-chipped ice to Paramour; and artist Amada Claire Miller has been brought on to direct graphic elements. An interesting addition to the staff is Lorenzo Morales, former sous chef at Arcade, who joins Paramour as Shrub Chef, an almost unheard of position, who will work on all scratch-made bitters, shrubs and juices.

Although Ware is plenty playful, the list of rules that have been handed down to the staff (after being combed over by his attorneys) presents another tone. This is, after all, a business. I sat in on a staff training and insurance information session—yes, employees at Paramour will all be offered healthcare—where a more serious, cerebral Ware peeks through. He’s orchestrating a show that includes 10 to 20 cocktails, 10 craft beers on tap, 10 bombers, 40 craft bottles and cans*, 100 wines and 1,000 spirits. Then there’s the Cage, a collection of rare and über-expensive bottles (a $6,000 Cognac drink was mentioned), a still undisclosed food component and the outdoor bar, which will rotate themes seasonally. The first theme will pack in mescals from the opening date through January.

“The idea behind being a good manager is that you’re a director. Directing the actors that are on the stage. If you can direct people for the show, and [you’re] engaging and people are enjoying themselves the show is working. It’s all about the charisma and intelligence to know what’s the difference. To see if the customer is enjoying themselves, or not, it’s really about situational awareness.”

There’s still plenty of work to be done before Paramour opens its doors (and the date is still not entirely set in stone); Ware and co. are already working 100 hours a week, before Paramour even lets its first customers in. His Google calendar is replete with appointments and meetings (if it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist, he says), and he’s meeting for tasting, after tasting, after tasting with brand reps across SA and Austin. He hopes to expand peoples’ palates and perception of the area with Paramour, an adult affair.

“You know what’s cool? Having the ability to show people what’s really out there, and show them how to get out of the college mindset. Who will it benefit? People want to be exposed to things.”

* The article has been changed to reflect the correct dates of service for Ware; his training under Sasha Petraske; and updated wine count; and square footage of Paramour

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