proposal

Boston Bar Shuttered by the Pandemic Reopens for a Surprise Wedding Proposal

Matt Champlin found a way to propose to his girlfriend, Christine Corning, at the Back Bay bar where she worked for years before it closed for good during the pandemic

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When the Pour House closed for good last September, former bartender Christine Corning never thought she would go back to the Boston establishment where she had worked for years. 

This weekend, however, Corning got one final last call when the bar reopened just so her boyfriend could propose to her inside.

On Sunday, Corning’s now-fiancé Matt Champlin popped the question at the closed-down bar in the Back Bay where they first met. Corning was bartending and Champlin was working at nearby Berklee College of Music, and he occasionally stopped by the pub on Boylston Street for a drink after work. 

Christine Corning and Matt Champlin explain what it was like to get engaged at the Pour House, the bar where they met.

“This one time I walked in, and there’s this beautiful blonde girl behind the bar, and she serves me a drink and later on serves me a number,” Champlin said.

“I wrote my number down on, like, receipt paper and I slid it to him across the bar, and I was like, ‘Hey, if you want to grab a beer anywhere but here, I’m down,’” Corning said. 

Although she made the first move, things hit a snag when she ignored Champlin’s initial text. 

“I immediately texted her the next day, and get like absolutely no response for, like, a while. You might call it ghosting,” said Champlin.

Corning said she was interested, but was at the time still trying to figure things out with her ex. 

But the couple got a second chance. Champlin visited the Pour House again after the failed text, and forgot his backpack on his way out. When he came back to pick it up, he found Corning and talk to her. 

“I was working the back section and he came back there and was like ‘Hey, I noticed you were avoiding me the last time I was in here. Like, what’s up? I thought we had a connection, you slid me your number,’” Corning said. 

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“I just wanted to clear the air,” Champlin explained. 

Corning's response? To invite Champlin on their first official date: a boat cruise with rapper Ja Rule. After living it up on the ocean, they became a couple.

Champlin originally planned to propose during their upcoming vacation to California, he said, but when Corning discovered his plan, he wanted to do something even more special. That’s when his sister suggested he try to do it where it all began. 

Champlin’s dad ended up finding the owner of the building, Charles Talanian, and left a message inquiring about the possibility of reopening it just for the proposal. To Champlin’s amazement, the owner agreed. 

Corning said yes, of course. 

“When people ask me, it’s funny, ‘Well, what’s your ideal proposal?’ And I never really had an answer,” Corning said. “But then this happened, and this is exactly how I would’ve wanted it.”

Matt Champlin proposes to Christine Corning at the Pour House, the Boston bar where they met.
Lovely Pictures Studio
Matt Champlin proposes to Christine Corning at the Pour House, the Boston bar where they met.
Matt Champlin and Christine Corning toasting their proposal
Lovely Pictures Studio
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