Blog : Green Olives: Two Ceres Street Cocktail Lounge Specializes in Sustainable Design

By Sam | Sep 4, 2014 | in

It’s just before 8:00 p.m. on a Friday, and the decks of Poco’s Bow Street Cantina are quickly filling up. Inside, the soft glow of the sunset melts into the warm LED lamplight at Two Ceres Street, a cocktail lounge nestled inside Poco’s. Guests can sit in low chairs and gaze out at the waterfront, feeling the breeze blow in through the opened glass wall. During the winter months, Two Ceres Street is its own, separate entity, but between mid-May and September, the two establishments combine.

Two Ceres Street is transformative; it literally changes shape with the seasons. During the cold months, it’s a cozy hideout to snuggle up next to a martini in front of a roaring fireplace, complete with deep leather chairs and corner nooks. When late spring comes around, the glass doors open to a deck; the high-top martini tables and large leather couch are removed, and Two Ceres merges with Poco’s Bow Street Catina, giving its intimate lounge atmosphere some space to breathe.

“People don’t want to be inside on a beautiful summer day, so we made Two Ceres Street able to accommodate more of an outdoor atmosphere when it’s warm,” says Marlisa Geroulo, co-owner of Poco’s and Two Ceres Street. During the summer, guests at Two Ceres Street can enjoy the full Poco’s food and drink line-up, though its most popular martinis stay on the menu.

There are few restaurants in Portsmouth that have gone to such lengths in sustainable interior design as Two Ceres Street. Kieri board, a material made from tightly wound discarded sorghum straw, provides the paneling on the bar. PaperStone, a composite surface material made from 100% recycled paper and resin, make up the countertops and the shelving on walls and in the bathroom.

Not everything that’s green has to be bought from a store, though. “We built our fireplace using scrap wood brought from the Moran towing, the tugboats that park right outside,” Geroulo says. Nearly all the surfaces at Two Ceres Street come from sustainable materials. That includes the floor in the lounge and on the deck of Poco’s, which is made entirely from recycled bottles.

While Two Ceres Street has a sleek modern design, Poco’s doesn’t necessarily wear its sustainability on its sleeve. Its fixtures may not be as newly renovated, but behind the scenes, the restaurant is continuously moving greenward. From establishing composting practices and using locally-sourced ingredients to installing Energy Star Appliances, Geroulo and co-owner John Golumb have been on the cutting edge of the sustainable restaurant industry for several years.

“It’s something we’ve always had an interest in,” Geroulo says. “When we wanted to open Two Ceres Street, a friend had just graduated from design school with a focus on green design, so we worked together on making all of the elements of it as recycled or sustainable as possible, and eventually we started making those changes to Poco’s.”

And they continue to make improvements. This year, Poco’s is adding a natural gas heating system to their outdoor seating. Rather than using large oil lamps or electric heating, so guests can still enjoy its trademark harborside view on a chilly night. The two restaurants are also partners of the Green Alliance, a local union of businesses with sustainable practices.

A great cocktail is always a great cocktail. But how much more enjoyable, when you know it was created in a bar that seeks to minimize damage to the planet? Now that's something worth toasting!