La Maison Pour reopened for a proposal on August 8
Like so many Boston restaurants and bars last year, The Pour House was forced to shut down just days before St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that had already filled the Boylston Street bar. On March 15, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker restricted take out and deliveries in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
La Maison Pour never reopened. On September 2, the bar announced its final closure after 34 years of activity, closing its doors for good.
And they remained closed – until last weekend. On Sunday, Matt Champlin proposed to Christine Corning, his three-year-old girlfriend and longtime The Pour House employee, inside the shuttered bar, surrounded by a small group of family and close friends.
She said yes.
The proposal was a coordinated effort between Champlin and C. Talanian Realty, the property management company that owns the buildings housing The Pour House and the now closed Lir. After Corning correctly guessed Champlin’s original plans to propose to Big Sur, Calif., Champlin’s sister suggested a surprise proposal to The Pour House.
This is, after all, where it all started.
In 2018, Champlin, who worked at Berkeley College of Music, walked into The Pour House for a drink. Corning was his bartender, and the two quickly hit it off. At the end of the evening, she slipped him a piece of paper with her number on it.
“I said, if you want to have a beer anywhere other than here, I’m downstairs,” she said. “Because I am not ashamed.”
Champlin said he felt incredibly lucky.
“I had never received a person’s number,” he laughs. “Not to mention a beautiful girl who was behind the bar. I was shocked.”
He texted her the next day, but Corning was still working out issues with an ex-boyfriend and wasn’t sure what she wanted. The two started dating other people. A few months later, Champlin left his backpack at La Maison Pour. When he returned to pick him up the next day, he asked Corning why she had never replied to his text.
“That’s when I realized, oh my god, this guy really cares,” Corning said. “That’s when I realized for good that my ex was my ex for a reason.”
As the two argue over the details of their first date, they agree that June 11, 2018 was technically their first date. Corning invited him on a Ja Rule boat cruise, and how could Champlin say no?
Corning, who worked at The Pour House for more than nine years until it closed, said the end of his time as a bartender there was swift. Now an event coordinator at the Whitinsville Golf Club, she said she never correctly said goodbye to the closed bar.
“I told Matt I never had my shutdown,” Corning said. “Half of my regulars were like ‘Bud Light Mike’ and ‘PBR Chris.’ I don’t have their last names. If I had known that this March day would be my last time to set foot in this restaurant, I would have done things differently. I would have had names of people and that sort of thing. I told him I had an empty space because I never had my last quarter glass. I never had to say goodbye. I wasn’t leaving on my terms.
That changed on Sunday night.
Champlin and his father bonded with Charles Talanian, owner of C. Talanian Realty, and were given the green light to implement the proposal at The Pour House. On August 8, Champlin told Corning to meet him in a parking lot near the bar, on the pretext that they would be heading to Atlantic Fish Co. for his sister’s surprise birthday party. They walked past The Pour House, where Kris Mejias’ husband, an employee of C. Talanian Realty who helped coordinate the event, was waiting outside, pretending to work on the property. Champlin mentioned that Corning was working there and asked if they could go inside to take pictures.
“I’m hesitant because I don’t know if I want to come in,” Corning recalls. “But I was like, it’ll be great. In my brain I’m like, I wonder if my Converse [that I left] are downstairs.
Once inside, Champlin opened a curtain on the back room, where he and his family had decorated the space with a table covered with a white tablecloth, flowers and candles, and where his sister had hung a grass wall with a neon sign that said “Will you marry me?” As Corning looked around in shock, Champlin fell to one knee and asked the question.
“I have really bad ADHD, and it was going crazy,” Corning said. “People were going out. But it was my closure. We met there, we got engaged there. Sadly, we can’t bring our kids there and get pancakes, hash and eggs in 10 years. But who knows, it might be open.
A wedding date has not been set; instead, the two are focusing on upcoming vacations to California and Nevada. Champlin, who currently works as an operations supervisor at Berkeley College of Music and recently interned at BNY Mellon for coding, said he was looking forward to time off. He is also seeking to reimburse C. Talanian Realty.
“We’re complete strangers,” he says. “They didn’t need to do this for me, Christine, my family at all. I feel like I owe the world to them.
Corning, too, feels incredibly lucky. After the proposal, the new fiancés took photos at the bar, recreating the first time they met. She said the proposal was “exactly how I wanted it, but I had no idea it was what I wanted”.
Corning’s last memory of The Pour House before it closed was digging pickles for pickleback photos. It was two days before St. Patrick’s Day.
“Matt came over to work and we sat in the back and he helped me empty some pickles that we never even got to use because The Pour House closed on the 15th,” she said. . “But now it’s like it’s my last memory, and it’s perfect.”
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