Sunday 5 February 2012

Gear and Tool Review: Best Portable Bar Ever.

                          "I've got the bottle, bring me your cup."


      So there you are, invited for vittles on a boat across the bay.  Being the good guest you are, you load a bottle or two and  some cheese and crackers in a bag , jump in your tender and get gone.  You arrive, climb aboard, and share out your lukewarm bottle, sweaty cheese and broken crackers.


    Or say you want to go for a day sail with friends on your Siren.  You can load a cooler and a grocery bag, and wine glasses and ice and cutting board and cutlery and then you don't have room for your friends.

     Oooooh, dilemma- do we sail with our friends and leave the booze on the Dock, or take the booze and leave the friends?  It's an awkward choice.

     Here on the Dock, we've found the solution, thanks to the coolest cooler company ever, California Innovations .


    Meet Product #78124-90-09, or, as we know it here on the Dock, The Porta-Bar.  The Porta-Bar is a rigid soft-side cooler/picnic basket hybrid loaded with features.

  Open the front facing zippered "lid", and the first feature you notice is the thin plastic cutting board cleverly attached to the inside surface of the lid with stretchy elastic bands at each corner, making it both secure and removable for cleaning.

  Inside are three adjustable compartments.  The walls are easily removed and reinstalled thanks to the velcro tape fasteners.  Nestled inside these compartments are a tall bottle carrier,(Warm Bin) an insulated ice box/topload cooler (Chilly Bin), and a plastic bin with lid (Cool Bin).

   The Warm Bin will fit as many as three 40 oz bottles of rum, or two 2 litre soft drink bottles, or a vodka bottle and a Clamato juice bottle or  a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses and a baguette.   This baby is versatile!

  The Chilly Bin is cleverly designed.  Inside the soft bag is a plastic tub, perfect for holding ice cubes in addition to up to 12 soft drink cans.  To maximize cold life, the lid has a small velcro sealed hatch, perfect for quick soft drink extraction.

       Above the Chilly Bin is the Cool Bin, perfect for storing lemons, limes, cheese, sausage, sandwiches, all sorts of snacks.

    The handles are sturdy, the stitching reinforced and the fabric is easily cleaned.  The only quibble, and it is  minor, is the lack of a carrying strap.
      All in all, this is a pretty impressive package, especially at a retail price point south of $40. Like it?  Want one?   There is only one problem...

    According to California Innovations, Product #78124-90-09 is No Longer Available.  If enough demand is generated, they will consider putting it back into production.  Fire them an email, let 'em know you saw it here and you want one, bad.

Barring new ones rolling off the assembly line., my local Canadian Tire still has a few in stock.  If anyone wants one, drop me a line, and I'll set you up.

UPDATE:  I have sourced about a dozen of these, which I am happy to move on at $35 each plus shipping costs.

You know the drill.  Thanks for taking the time to check us out.  Please feel free to "Talk the Dock!" Link us, follow us, or just tell your friends.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, Brian. Figures you'd find a way to better keep the mix 'n' limes cool.

    We have a simpler one with wheels and a pocket for one of those "freeze bricks" asking you to secure one just got vetoed by the Admiral, alas.