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Former Marine says all are welcome in his downtown bar

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It looks like a bar and it sounds like a bar, but Pour House in Downtown Wilmington stands out from other places like it.

You might remember a few years ago when Marines lodged a complaint against the City of Wilmington and a number of bars because of what they described as discrimination against members of the military.

“Various bar owners are targeting Marines and excluding us and keeping us out of the establishments,” said Marine Kevin Nicholson back in 2008.

Now, one former Marine has a bar of his own.

“Anyone can come in here that is twenty-one and looking to have fun,” said Joe Apkarian, co-owner of the Pour House at 103 Market Street downtown.

Apkarian served in the Marine Special Operations Command from 2004to September of this year. He decided to put skills he learned in the military to work a little differently as co-owner of Pour House.

“At the end of the day, you are still managing people, you’re still working in an environment you have to be professional in and have to do your job,” said Apkarian. “Whether it is military or it is civilian life.”

He says it’s the same thing, just different hours. And as for rowdy Marines…

“Do Marines sometimes get a little bit of a bad reputation, yes,” said Apkarian. “But at the same time, I see people in general doing foolish things Downtown.”

Apkarian says the journey wasn’t easy. He and his partner even had to take out personal loans. But he says owning Pour House gives him an opportunity to give back to other veterans through fundraisers and a sense of everyone is welcome.

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