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Corto’s First Natural Wine Tasting Event!

We’re hosting our first natural wine tasting event!

On Thursday 12 August 2021 from 7pm until around 9.30pm (no rush), Katie will take you through five of our latest bottles from around Europe that have sparked our imagination and made us close our eyes and go “woah”.

You’ll learn about the winemakers behind the wines and find out why they do what they do in the way that they do it. Of course, you’ll get to taste the five wines and learn about why they taste the way that they do. And there’ll be paired snacks too! (Vegan options available)

If you’ve never been to a wine tasting before and don’t know what to expect, here are some tips:

  • Sniff the wine
  • Sip the wine
  • Chat about the wine
  • Have a blast

This is the first of, we hope, many wine tasting events at Corto where we can make wine less intimidating and more fun. We might even play some games.

Get your tickets to our FIRST EVER WINE TASTING EVENT here via Eventbrite: https://corto_firstwinetasting.eventbrite.co.uk 

A bit more on Natural Wine

Natural wine is one of our favourite things.

It’s wine that’s been made with as little intervention as the winemaker sees fit — at the very least it’ll be grown without pesticides, although often you won’t find organic hallmarks on the bottles we sell. It’s an expensive cost winemakers prefer to avoid, using organic practices because they prefer to, not to tick a box.

As much as we love the eco aspects of natural wine, there’s another side to it that’s just as compelling. 

The wild way these wines express themselves is something, we believe, is hard to recreate using conventional methods. The experimentation, innovation and creativity of natural winemakers is something, we think, is worth celebrating. They are using ancient methods to care for their vines and make their wines, in a modern setting where low intervention techniques and a mind towards the environment has never been more important.

So that’s why we love natural wine. We hope after you taste some of our latest bottles, you will too!

Buy your ticket to our first ever wine tasting here

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Soft, Low and No – Non-Alcoholic Drinks to get Excited About

Not everybody wants to drink alcohol. Not everybody can. Sometimes you just want a delicious beverage without the booze. Nobody should judge!

We’ve put together a list of soft, low alcohol and no alcohol drinks for Corto that quench thirsts and tickle tastebuds so efficiently you’ll never even notice the negligible ABV.

Continue reading Soft, Low and No – Non-Alcoholic Drinks to get Excited About
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Corto (the bar) is opening on Friday 4th June!!

We have a date! We’ve set it! The day is nearly here!

Corto will open on Friday 4th June 2021.

Book your table!

Email us to book your table at hello@cortobar.co.uk

Opening Hours from June 4th

Friday 4th June: 12pm – 11pm

Saturday 5th June: 12pm – 11pm

Sunday 6th June: 12pm – 10pm

Thursday 10th June: 12pm – 10pm

Friday 11th June: 12pm – 11pm

Saturday 12th June: 12pm – 11pm

Sunday 13th June: 12pm – 10pm

*We can seat tables of up to 6 people due to current Covid guidelines*

More fun details to come!

We’ve got a ton of ace announcements to make between now and our Grand Opening Weekend (unofficial title) so keep your scrolling to a minimum and look out for more news on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Also, if you’ve not signed up to our newsletter yet, make sure you get involved! That’s where all our most exciting news gets broken first.

Sign up here.

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We’re shutting down the Corto webshop — and we’d love to tell you why

From the start, Corto was meant to be a place to chill. Somewhere deliciously relaxed and vibey, where we could pour drinks and serve snacks, run tasting events and generally have a great time.

A webshop is none of that.

Webshops done well are great sources of excellent products, run by people who have the time and expertise to upload fresh drops on the daily, keep everyone up-to-date, and maybe even have the warehousing space to buy in large numbers to pass savings on to customers. They almost certainly have the resources to ship their products cross-country (something we never really figured out how to do inexpensively and quickly — sorry Clitheroe post office).

The Corto webshop was a means to an end — a way to keep connected to you while we were ford to close over the third lockdown at Christmas. It was a quickly-built site that did the job well (and we were super proud to have been able to do it all by our clever little selves) but it was never our intention to keep it going. It was a temporary fix, and that word “temporary” is important to us.

It meant that closures and lockdowns wouldn’t last forever. It means that someday, and that day is getting closer, we won’t be a shop at all. 

Corto (the Shop) as it currently is

Now that we’ve been able to open our little shopfront for a couple of weeks and been able to talk to you about whether you like using click and collect, we’ve made the decision to close our webshop for good. It turns out you don’t like click and collect. You prefer coming in for a chat. This is great! So do we prefer that!!

Katie especially hated updating the webshop because it reminded her of all the digital marketing jobs she used to do. All that metadata. No thank you.

Owning your own business is a responsibility, but it also means that every now and again you have the absolute authority to not do things you hate.

So GOODBYE, CORTO WEBSHOP! It’s been real. But we’re ready for the next thing now.

COME VISIT US AT 36 KING STREET, CLITHEROE IN PERSON!!

Your Reviews

We want to take a sec here to say thank you so much for all your amazing reviews. They were pretty much the only part of the webshop we loved. 

We’ve kept them for posterity, they meant that much to us.

If you’d like to keep leaving reviews for us, please remember that there is always Google and Facebook! But also, message us. DM us. We always want to know what you thought of that thing you bought — especially if you loved it.

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Corto May Bank Holiday Opening Times — come and visit!

This bank holiday we’re open on Friday and Saturday for take-out beer, wine and cider. So come and visit us for some delicious bevs and a bit of a chat!

May Bank Holiday Opening Times

Friday 30 April – 11am — 7pm

Saturday 1 May – 11am — 2pm

Sunday 2 May – CLOSED

Bank Holiday Monday – CLOSED

We are closing early on Saturday 1 May and closed on Sunday 2 May and Bank Holiday Monday because we’re going camping. No excuses here! The building work is going great, we’re on schedule (more on that next week!) and we’re excited to get decorating. We’ve decided that before we open the bar we need a proper break. We haven’t stopped for months, especially Katie, who alongside Corto works as a writer and an editor.

Camping is gonna be boss. We’ll send you some pics.

New In Stock

While we’re here, have a look at some of the freshies we’ve got in stock!

Belching Beaver x Deftones – Phantom Bride

Deftones-branded beer. A gimmick? Yeah, but so what. It’s DEFTONES-BRANDED BEER.

A lip-smacking west coast IPA clear, crisp and precise like Abe’s drumming and bitter-as-you-like. Swiftly drinkable and totally delicious.

Yeastie Boys and North End Brewery

We’re big fans of Yeastie Boys. Does that surprise you?

They may have a core range in supermarkets but their beers are always on point. Also, their ethos is banging — they are good people, making good beer, working hard to do good things.

We were invited to a tasting they ran alongside fellow New Zealand brewery North End a couple of months back and we just loved their story and the brilliant mixed ferm beers they’d created.

So, of course, we nabbed a few for our shelves.

Yeastie Boys x North End — West Moon

An old ale made with the old British brewing technique of boiling the grist for a long period of time to leech all that flavourful malty strength from it and bring it to a deep colour. When we say this beer was boiled for a long time, we mean looooong. They stayed up all night, watching the wort turn from straw-pale to deep copper as it caramelised in the kettle. 

Then, the wort was inoculated with a strain of wild yeast cultured with love and care (honestly, head brewer Kieran Haslatt-Moore couldn’t have been more excited about this when he was chatting about making the beer) from a 1977 bottle of Bass Jubilee Ale.

West Moon was put to bed in 500L oak puncheons to referment with the wild yeast for 6 months.

What’s happened in that time is magical. A beautifully tangy, deeply earthy and leathery beer reaches your tastebuds and chucks fun little flavours in every direction. Fruit! Toffee! Toast! 

But it gets better with age. That’s the idea. Kieran told us that West Moon was brewed to be laid down in cellar and aged, and to be brought out and enjoyed on a special occasion — just as old ales were in the past. Old ales were a present on a birthday, a gift to mark the birth of a baby or given to celebrate a promotion, and then enjoyed years later on the baby’s 18th birthday, or years later whenever drinking delicious beer with loved ones was the order of the day.

On the label is a painting of a photo of Kieran as a baby with his dad, a special image for him and an homage to his deep belief that beer should be enjoyed with the people you love.

We’ve got a bottle for ourselves stashed away for a special occasion way in the future. One we’ve not even decided on yet. But also, drinking together with people you love is a special occasion in itself — which is why we’ve already had one. Drink the beer. You only live once.

North End Brewing — Saison de Terroir

Another beauty from North End, we were absolutely thrilled to be able to grab a case of this deliciously delicate farmhouse sour beer.

They say: “We have helped add a big dose of ‘terroir’ into this beer by taking our Saison and re-fermenting it in barrels with a blend of wild yeasts from Waikanae. The result is tangy, lightly tart and extremely fruity.”

On top of these we’ve got a load of super special bottles stashed away for our opening weekend (which we’ll announce the dates of in NEXT WEEK’S NEWSLETTER. Subscribe now if you don’t already so you don’t miss out.) 

Did somebody say… Rose de Gambrinus?

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Corto (The Shop) Lives Again! It’s Alive!

Just like Frankenstein’s monster, we’re back. Of course, it’s only Frankenstein’s monster if it was built from body parts in or near Geneva — otherwise it’s just a sparkling reanimated corpse.

Today we’re opening our lil door on King Street, Clitheroe from 12pm — 6pm, offering real life recommendations and full-on chats for the first time in, ooh, four months? Come in and talk to us about your fave beers, wine and cider that you’ve tried since then. We want to talk to you!! It’s been too long!

Opening Hours

Friday 16 April: 12pm — 6pm

Saturday 17 April 12pm — 6pm

Sunday 18 April 12pm — 4pm

What’s the plan, then?

As you know, we’re a bar. That’s the main thing to remember. Our shop is temporary, but for now, it’s all we’ve got, so we’re making the best of it.

From this weekend we’re reopening as a shop while building work continues on our bar area. This means that in the next few weeks we may need to move our opening times around to fit in with the building schedule — we hope you can bear with us. You should see the plans. It’ll be totally worth it.

The shop will be fully stocked with amazing beer, natural wine and natural cider, from independent producers and brewers. What’s even more exciting is that this time around we can offer tasters, so make sure you pop by for a wee drop of something cool. It’s not exactly table service, but it’s a start!

By the end of May we’re hoping to be open fully as a bar, and the bottle shop will be no more. Stay tuned for announcements about this in the coming weeks. Our newsletter subscribers will be the first to hear about our opening dates so if you’re not already signed up, what are you waiting for?

Deliveries are Over. Come and Visit!

We’re no longer operating our delivery service. Now that the shop is open again, we can’t operate both at the same time.

We are, however, enabling click and collect via our webshop, so if you feel more comfortable with a contactless system please continue to order online and we’ll pack it up and leave it for you by the door or at your car.

See you soon! Can’t wait!

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Our Final Deliveries This Weekend. The End Of A Mini-Era!

Lockdown restrictions are easing next week. You know that already. The pubs are opening, we’ve been counting down the days, and we’re sure you have too!

We never planned to open during the first phase of re-opening for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we don’t have outdoor space that would be enjoyable to sit in — the pavement is too narrow, it would cause too many tuttings and congestions. Secondly, our building work was always planned to continue through this time, and we can’t really expect you to come in and enjoy yourselves while all the powertools in the world rave on in the background.

Better to wait, and open when we’re as near to perf as possible.

Launching Corto Click and Collect, and Re-Launching the Kiosk

While we get ready for opening (not long now! More news coming soon!) we’re re-launching the Corto kiosk.

Pop by every Friday and Saturday from 12pm — 6pm and Sunday from 12pm — 4pm to come in and BUY STUFF IRL!

We’ll be there to help with recommendations, to refill growlers and refillable wine bottles, and just to have a right good catch-up. Come and chat to us. We’ve missed you!

We’ll also be offering click and collect, so come by to pick up your orders during the kiosk opening times and we’ll have them ready for you.

Having Time to do the Things We Love

A big part of why both of us decided to open our own business was to give us the opportunity to pursue things we love in life. Corto is a huge part of our life now, and we’re planning to make sure we give it all of our best energy. That means setting boundaries, and opening at times that work for you and for us too.

This is our way of saying that we’re not opening on Monday because we’ll be at the pub. 

Our opening times will be updated on our website, on Google and available on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook profiles. So don’t worry, there should never be a time when you turn up expecting to come in and we’re not there!

Looking forward to seeing you at the shop soon x

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Introducing: Corto Fermentations, your new fave snacks

Sometimes we forget that we’ve not shared some of our biggest plans with the world. We’ve got all these ideas for Corto, but we realised the other day, we’ve not been shouting about most of them yet!

Call it apprehension, extreme secretiveness or just forgetfulness — whatever it is, it’s not that helpful when we don’t tell you what we’re up to!

So. Here we are telling you one of our biggest secrets: here’s some news about our Tasty Things!

Tasty food at Corto

Corto will not only serve drinks. Our bar is heavily inspired by tapas culture and the Izakaya bars of Japan, which means yes, there will be food!

However, we’ll be using food to accentuate the amazing craft beer, natural wine and cider on our menu. Little dishes of tasty things, not hot meals, but snacks, aimed at being delicious and adding to the experience.

Instead of coming in for a meal, we hope you’ll come by for a plate of tasty things and a glass of something delicious. Our main focus is and always will be our drinks — beer, cider and wine is where our main passions are. But you can’t beat a great plate of snackies.

Think cheese from Courtyard Dairy, Dave on the market and local farms we’re working with directly. Think ham from local producers in Settle and Ilkley. Think tapas-inspired pan con tomate, and grilled cheese sarnies hot from the panini press (Tom’s main obsession in life.) Think vegan treats from amazing independent makers. Think pickles and hot sauces… 

Which brings us to our main revelation.

Corto Fermentations

We’d like to introduce you to our happy little project, Corto Fermentations!

Tom loves bringing out the incredible flavours that come from naturally fermenting vegetables and fruit. Using his 7 years of homebrewing experience he decided that making beer was too much washing up, and instead started playing with recipes for hot sauces, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and other good, good stuff.

Natural ferments bring out loads of different fruity flavours within the veg and adds acidity and complexity. This is the way gherkins are traditionally made! Believe it or not, there’s no vinegar in there. (Depending where you read you might also hear about probiotic benefits… but we’re not gonna claim anything. We just like how it tastes!) 

These immense pickles and sauces will accompany most of our snacks, and are made from locally grown vegetables whenever we can get them! And when we can’t, we’re locally-sourcing them.

We’re really excited about this next part of Corto and we really hope you can come and taste some of our Corto Fermentations creations soon.

Not long now, folks. Not long now.

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Corto Opening Hours After Lockdown — What’s The Plan?

Walking around the market today, it felt like everyone was a little less anxious. We chatted to Alan the Butcher and Dave Cheese, picked up a ton of plantains from the top grocers and a motherload of onions from the Burney’s. Spring’s coming. You can tell by the daffodils in their spring onion bunches, and the way that we don’t have to wear three fleeces anymore. Spring. Is. Coming!

What’s obvious in every conversation we have is that everyone is looking forward to the dates when lockdown restrictions will be eased. 

To remind you, here’s a really cool website we found.

The “roadmap” rules click into action on the following dates:

Stage 1a: March 8th

Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench” — we assume this also means you can have a beer if you like!

Stage 1b: March 29th

People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens.

You know what this means? BBQs!!

The “stay at home” rule is also set to end on this date, which means while it’s probably wise to stay as local as possible, we will be able to travel for walks. Hello favourite hills we’ve not seen in months! See you soon!

Stage 2: April 12th

On this date, all shops are allowed to open. That means we’ll probably be opening our door as a little kiosk again on this week.

Restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol. We don’t have any outdoor space, so catch us outside The New Inn or Beer Shack for a pint and a chat…

(Libraries also open on this date, so get finishing your books. Katie.)

Stage 3: May 17th

On this date, we can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

Picnics!

Six people or two households can meet indoors too, which means: the return of the dinner party!

Super excitingly, pubs can seat customers indoors at this date too. Now, we don’t know yet what sort of distancing or other safety measures will be in place, so we can’t tell you how it’ll work at Corto yet. What we can say is this: Corto will be opening properly as a bar sometime during the week beginning Monday 17th May.

(Also indoor sports classes start up again on this date. See you at Tessa Clemson Yoga!)

Stage 4: June 21st

The big one. All legal limits will be lifted.

We’re really looking forward to this one, because it means proper bar life. Standing at the bar. Having a bit of a dance. Enjoying yourself without worrying. We can’t wait.

Corto Progress: Update

We’re on track to open Corto as a craft beer, natural wine and cider bar in May.

A lot’s going on behind the scenes, and we’re really happy to be working with Castle Joinery who are making sure our former boutique shoe shop building becomes the super-trendy bar we want it to be!

For more regular updates and pics of the ongoing build, keep checking our Instagram.

We’ll also be sending out information on our opening dates via our newsletter first, so if you want to be the first to know all the Corto goss, make sure you subscribe.

We’re still running our Corto delivery service from the kiosk while we can’t open. We deliver beer, wine and cider for free within 6 miles of Clitheroe every Friday and Saturday, and we can deliver a bit further afield if you get in touch and let us know in advance.

Keeping It Fun, Keeping It Safe

We keep reminding ourselves that while we’re super excited to be finally opening Corto as the bar of our dreams, the pandemic is far from over. We want to make sure that we’re opening only when it’s absolutely safe to do so, and that all of our guests feel super comfortable here.

We will only open our bar if we are absolutely sure it is safe. 

Corto is meant to be a chilled place to enjoy a drink. We are going to make sure it’s chilled by working extra hard to make sure we have Covid-safe measures in place. Things like:

  • Table booking in advance made available
  • All latest government guidelines will be strictly adhered to
  • Hand gel on every table
  • Hand washing facilities available for all in our unisex bathrooms
  • Staff (Tom and Katie) will wear masks and guests will be asked to too, if legislation requires it
  • Seats will be appropriately distanced from each other, and separated with screens if legislation requires it
  • All tables, fridge doors, door handles menus, and everything else you can think of will be sanitised regularly

By the time it comes to the big Corto opening week, we’re sure many more different rules will be in place in order to keep us safe. We promise that we will take every single one of these rules seriously, and implement everything that’s relevant to a bar of Corto’s size and type. We want to keep you and ourselves safe!

So until then, take care and see you soon x

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UK Roadmap? What does that mean?

when is corto opening?

Yesterday we were feeling all kinds of nerves. The lockdown has been many things over the past 10 months (10 months!!), but in the not-to-distant future it’s about to be something we kindof felt like it might never be: OVER.

Staying safe has been our number one priority ever since we opened our little shop in December — the safety of everyone has always been at the front of our minds. Going into deliveries only territory was strange and unfamiliar, but if it meant people were safer, we were happy to do it.

Now the lockdown’s got some end dates, it’s a bit weird, isn’t it? It felt like it would go on forever. We all definitely want it to end, but now it’s going to be over we’re feeling a bit like — oh! What a surprise! Okay! Better get planning then!

So the first thing we want to chat about is our first opening dates. What does the UK Roadmap for lifting lockdown mean for Corto?

The rules, according to the BBC news explainer (which is super helpful for all aspects of life outside of lockdown btw), say the following:

  • 12th April 2021: All shops allowed to open
  • 17th May 2021: Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors

We weren’t sure if the law will allow “hospitality venues” to sell alcohol to take away after the 12th April. James from SIBA reckons it is though, and we trust him!

So, this means:

Corto will be open as a shop from April 12th 2021

We will be planning Corto opening parties to start from the week of May 17th 2021

So keep your eyes open for announcements in the coming weeks! We’ve got some stuff to share…

Pubs will be allowed to open up their beer gardens earlier than this, on the 12th April, but we don’t have any outdoor space so this doesn’t apply to us. No, we can’t put benches on the pavement (unless the council wants to close off the main streets to traffic for a little while for some continental vibes? Might be a shout?) 

So until May, see you in our shop, or out the back of The Swan With Two Necks with a pint of Lagonda!

Stay positive

We’re not silly. We know that things could change and dates could move, and that April and May are still months away. But for now, let’s be positive. The days are getting longer and the vaccines are working well. The end of all this is in sight. 

We’re allowing ourselves to feel a little bit lighter and a lot more excited today 🙂