Just when you think Portland can't get any more precious, it goes and becomes a hub for the revival of urban wineries. Diversifying away from the sacred cow of Pinot Noir, these small-batch operations are bringing wine making back to the city, as is European tradition. (And yes, they buy their fruit. Most winemakers, even out in the Valley, are not vintners, apparently, and that whole "wine tasting in the country" thing is an American invention, anyhow.)
So. On Saturday I caught the Short Bus for one of their periodic urban winery tours (other tour themes include an all-lady sex toy shopping excursion, FYI). It took us to four locations, starting at the Southeast Wine Collective, which houses Division Wine Making Company, Fullerton Wines, Vincent, Helioterra, and Bow & Arrow. It was the only place on the tour that I was already familiar with, and it was there that I bought my first bottle of the day (this would become a re-emerging theme).
The deal with the bus is that you can drink on it—they even provided us with insanely thick, idiot-proof wine glasses, but pace yourself. The tour lasts for almost five hours, and there is a lot of wine involved. The smallest location we visited, by far, was Jan-Marc, who produces an astonishing seven types of wine out of his garage in residential North Portland. Sitting in the sun on his driveway sipping his amazing "Bastard Red" goes down in the top five most Portland moments of my life.
The ride on the bus alone is $35 a head, and you'd be best advised to purchase an urban winery passport for $20, which covers the day's tastings and gets you a 10% discount on any bottles you purchase (and you will). I ended up buying four bottles of wine, you guys, instead of groceries, the water bill, and cat food. I feel fine about this, but if you take one of these tours (it was really quite delightful), you'd better bring your wallet. It was not the cheapest afternoon, although I was very impressed that the pricing was reasonable, with most bottles falling somewhere between $15-30. (Do I sound like a yuppie? I really, really feel like a yuppie.)
But seriously, next time you are showing a foodie of any stripe around town, this is a pretty slick move. It nails a lot of the city's most winning qualities (funky buses, micro-production, day drinking) in one fell swoop.
PDX Beer Week, unfortunately, is drawing to a close, but there are still plenty of events left. Last night at the release party for the Gentlemen's Club collaboration between Widmer Bros and Miami's Cigar City (on tap tonight at The Rookery Bar at Raven & Rose), I was reminded of just how awesome this city's beer scene is. It was actually not one of the collaborations that reminded me, and it wasn't any of the awesome offerings from Cigar City (e.g. cucumber lager) which have not ever been available within 1000 miles or so of here. It was a fourteen-year-old mead dug up from the depths of Widmer's keg storage. A delicious, full-bodied, 11% ABV mead, the combination of drinkability and high acohol content of which, according to the Widmer rep I talked to, is the sole reason meads are no longer allowed at the Oregon Brewers Festival.
The point is, things like this just happen in Portland all the time. That this week is called PDX Beer Week is almost a non sequitur—isn't every week beer week in Portland? Regardless, here's where you should be drinking this weekend:
You should, right now, be drinking rare and exciting Colorado beer at Belmont Station's Colorado Beer Day. Something like Crooked Stave being on tap in Portland is reason enough to go, but you can also try Backcountry, Elevation, Grimm Brothers, and some rare offerings from Great Divide and New Belgium. Put down your tablet or whatever the hell gadget you read this on and go. And then just stay in the neighborhood and hit Horse Brass, where all of their rotating taps are Portland beers for the whole weekend.
On Saturday, Old Town Brewing is holding an irresistible George Jones Tribute Beer Festival. Ten brewers releasing George Jones-inspired beers, served alongside classic country tunes. This is the kind of thing that needs to happen more often in this town. (This is like that classic funeral test to find out if you're a psychopath. I want to be clear: I am not advocating the serial murder of classic country musicians just to justify memorial beer festivals.)
Then on Sunday, maybe the most mouthwatering event of the festival (if the Mussels From Brussels at Bazi didn't win this already) is going down at The Commons: The Portland Beer and Cheese Festival (featuring free charcuterie from CHOP with the price of admission). Steve Jones of Cheese Bar is pairing the cheese, so you know it's going to be a world-class affair.
You'll need some kind of organized sports to work off the cheese and beer from that event, so head to Ground Kontrol from 8:00-11:00pm for some competitive video gaming and Ninkasi beer. Winners win... well, I don't know, they don't list specific prizes, just "Ninkasi swag and Ground Kontrol gift certificates," but in my case it the real prize would be a sense of accomplishment and pride previously thought unattainable.
Then get some rest because Monday is another day of drinking in this beautiful beer-stained city.
Partnering with a ping-pong event group called Pips & Bounce, adidas is throwing a party for Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP) tomorrow, June 15, and it's appropriately game-centric. $10 admission ($8 for students) gets you into this feel-good shindig, 100% of the proceeds from which go directly to a foundation whose efforts center around "critically ill, chronically ill and disabled children (and their loved ones) with programs that strengthen encourage and inspire." This great cause is promoted with all the perks of a good benefit, like goodie bags for early-birds, prizes, snacks from kOi Fusion, free beer from 4-6, a live DJ, and most importantly, ping-pong. Also, Olympic ping-pong players—PLAYING PING-PONG.
The fundraiser goes from 3-9 pm at the adidas Village (5055 N Greeley). Be there or be having way less fun tomorrow afternoon, especially if it's sunny. And did I mention all attendees get a pass to the adidas Village store good for 50% off? Stock up on cheap(er) sneakers while you're at it.
Happy Flag Day, Blogtown! Honor this oft-overlooked holiday by overlooking it once again and head upstairs to Secret Society (also known as that bar you find yourself waiting in for a table at Toro Bravo). This hidden gem is celebrating their 5th anniversary by taking full advantage of their killer event space adjacent to the public room, bringing in Pete Krebs and his Portland Playboys, the Resolectrics, Redray Frazier, and Dr. Theopolis to inspire your best moves. The kitchen and bar will also be offering $5 food and drink specials all night. The party runs til 1 am - bring your best dancing shoes and an appetite for classic cocktails and absinthe. Secret Society prides themselves on their particularly comprehensive selection of the green fairy, so this evening could get interesting...
Secret Society is located at 116 NE Russell.
First of all ghhaaauuuggghh... part of me died just posting that image. These things are ferociously awful. The ones with the pot leaves giving the peace sign literally want to make me hide under my desk and cry.
But! The whole gimmick with the these things is that the soles double as flasks, so that you can more easily sneak hooch into festivals, movie theaters, or wherever else your alcohol-soaked heart may lead you. Now personally I know I'm not an alcoholic just by virtue of the fact that I would rather never drink ever again than don these atrocities. (Okay, not ever again but maybe for like seven years.) But if you were an alcoholic, would the sneaky convenience of wearing flasks on your feet outweigh the indignity? Keep in mind, you'll be pouring this stuff out of the same objects that have been housing your greasy festival feet. Ew.
(By the way, this question has largely already been answered by the fact that almost all of these styles are currently sold out on the Flipflask website. So things are worse than I thought. Also, if you want some actual serious advice about what men should and shouldn't be wearing this summer, I posed the footwear question to several fashionable dudes 'round town in this week's issue. You can check out what they said here.)
BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER, HERE IS THE SOUNDTRACK TO THIS BLOG POST. PLEASE PRESS "PLAY," THEN CONTINUE.
The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are things of beauty. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is not very good. Terminator: Salvation is even worse. But wait! Come back! Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a fucking awesome TV show that was canceled far, far too early; even typing its name makes me sad for what could have been.
BUT EVERYTHING IS STILL OKAY! Because it turns out that this week is the best week in history if you are a Terminator fan and live in Portland and like beer! Check out these events:
TONIGHT! TERMINATOR NIGHT! At 7:30 pm at Ground Kontrol (511 NW Couch) there will be Terminator trivia ("hosted by Terminator superfans Nic Goans and Matt Cummins," two gentlemen who I have not heard of, so I cannot vouch for their credentials, but I shall give them the benefit of the doubt), followed by a Terminator costume contest at 9 pm. And from 5-8 pm, there's a T2 Pinball Challenge, leading up to a tournament later tonight for the best T2 pinball players. Plus, Ground Kontrol will be serving Lompoc Brewing's Brave New Brew IPA.
FRIDAY NIGHT! TERMINATOR DOUBLE FEATURE! At the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy) at 7:30 pm, they'll be playing The Terminator, followed at 9:30 by Terminator 2. Both films are on 35mm, and the theater will also be offering up the "specially brewed Ryes of the Machines IPA from Lompoc." There will also be "seven other sci-fi inspired IPAs," from the Prime Directive IPA to the Gallifrey IPA. If you just realized you can't make it to the double feature, jesus, just stop hyperventilating and settle down for a second—both Terminator and T2 will be playing separately through Thursday, June 20.
So go forth, readers, and do some Terminator-y stuff and drink some beer, and remember that there's no fate but what we make. And you're lucky I have plans tonight, because I'm pretty sure I could beat all of you at Terminator trivia. And don't even get me started on how awesome my Sarah Connor costume is.
There are roughly a million events, so check out the calendar and make up your own mind about where to go. Or if you're hyperventilating from too many options, just take my advice for the weekend:
Tonight, there are a ton of beers on at the kick-off party at Lucky Lab NW, many of which sound delicious. But also, IPA UPSIDE DOWN CAKE ICE CREAM. And also Bretta fermented pears and fudge ice cream. There are six different Salt and Straw collaborations with local brewers. Can you get drunk on ice cream? Find out tonight.
If all the variety at the Lucky Lab party turns you off because you're stuck in Portland's IPA heyday (god bless you), head to Saraveza's Oakshire event. Four IPA's including a firkin of something "special."
Before that, though, you want to head to Belmont Station for the release party of the official PDX Beer Week Beer, an "India Wild Ale" from Breakside and Gigantic. This 100% brettanomyces wild IPA is likely to be the vanguard of a new(ish) movement in Oregon beer, so be there for the inception.
Saturday, check out the Fruit Beer Fest, over at Burnside Brewing, which promises to be a slightly less drunk festival this year, as organizers say they're focusing more on the sessionable, patio-friendly beers - including a delicious rhubarb apple cider from 2 Towns in Corvallis (they used two and a half tons of rhubarb in this batch of cider!) and a perfectly drinkable pomegranate Berliner weisse from Widmer. You're going to want to go for the VIP package here ($28), as it allows you to get in early, at 10:00am for some special tappings.
Getting in and out early at the Fruit Beer Fest will also allow you some extra time to make it to Beermongers for a tap takeover and meet-the-brewers event with previously mentioned De Garde Brewing from Tillamook. These cats are already bringing a Double India Wild Ale (with Chenin Blanc grapes and aged in gin barrels, no less) to a week officially represented by an India Wild Ale. What did I tell you about this style? (It was something "Something vanguard something.")
Sunday you should head to The Hop & Vine for a Widmer tap takeover and to try the new Hop & Vine/Coalition collaboration, a Calypso-single-hop pale ale. (Full disclosure: I am a Hop & Vine employee and helped brew that beer. So if you don't like it, blame me.) Then somehow safely make your way to SE Hawthorne for Bazi's Mussels From Brussels, in which four local brewers pair mussels with a beer and a brewer-made secret sauce. In attendance: The Commons, Lompoc, Pfriem, and Upright. Do not miss this.
Okay, that's all I can get through without having a rage stroke over being out of town this weekend. Now get dressed and drunk!
For the third consecutive year, Portland Beer Week promises to provide another welcome excuse to tipsily prove our superiority in consuming massive amounts of glutenful pints and apparently enjoy the longest week in the history of ever (11 whole days, which makes said "week" technically closer to being a fortnight, guys). Kicking off tonight (June 6) with a party at the Lucky Lab Beer Hall (1945 NW Quimby) and featuring four whole festivals, several dinners with guest chefs like Vitaly Paley (of Paley's Place, Imperial) and Jason French (of Ned Ludd), and other shenanigans like the Portland Beer Games (what?!), brewers around town have conspired to help beer fans have a lot of fun through June 16th. Check out the full calendar of events here or follow my advice and check out these events that just look too good to pass up:
Beer + Boobs Stripcrawl Tour: What's more patriotic (specifically to Portland) than drinking lots of beer at several strip clubs? Brewvana will safely escort you and other fans of the finer things in life to three of Portland's favorite nude establishments for $30 on Friday, June 7. You'll still need to bring dollar bills and beer money, but you'll save a bundle on cab fare.
Pickup at 8:45 pm at EastBurn (1800 E Burnside).
Portland Fruit Beer Festival: June 8-9 marks the third annual celebration of fruity brews, outside in the probably sunny parking lot of Burnside Brewing. At least 26 breweries will be bringing their fruit-flavored brews and ciders to the event, and $20 admission wins you a tasting glass and 12 tickets (each good for a 4 oz taste of most offerings). The festival runs 11 am to 9 pm Saturday, June 7 and 11 am to 6 pm Sunday, June 8, so show up this weekend to discover your new favorite summer sipper.
Burnside Brewing Co. is located at 701 E. Burnside.
Mussels from Brussels: A competition in which $25 lands you a pound of mussels with a secret sauce from Upright Brewing Pfriem Family Brewers, Lompoc Brewing and The Commons Brewery; beer pairings from each aforementioned brewery; and a vote for your favorite pairing - Doesn't sound like there's a real loser at this delicious contest at Bazi Brasserie on Sunday, June 9 from 4-10.
Bazi Brasserie is located at 1522 Southeast 32nd.
Lompoc Sci-Fi IPA Movie Night at Hollywood Theatre: Watch the Terminator 1 and 2 on 35 mm this Flag Day for $8 and try as many cleverly named Lompoc beers as you can before Arnold's face gets too blurry. I'm going to start with a Ryes of the Machines IPA and go from there.
Friday, June 14 from 7:30-11:30 at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy).
Like vegetables, eggs, and tea towels, I predict (okay hope) that the next big "local" obsession in these parts is going to be wine. And I don't mean Oregon wine from out in the country, I mean the wine that is being made in increasing numbers by small urban wineries dotting the inner east side (mostly). When the Bindery opens—pour some out for the Teen Challenge thrift store—late this summer, I predict it will catch the attention of everyone who's becoming more dimly aware of this creepin' scene (you're gonna hear about it; at 10,000 sf it's the largest underground wine operation in the urban United State), but in the meantime there is quite a bit already in place to check out.
In the interest of time efficiency and reducing your chances of getting a DUI, these small wineries have joined forces with the Portland Short Bus (which has joined the Barfly Bus as one of Portland's favorite methods of mobile partying) for periodic, daylong tours of these spots. Thirty-five bucks gets you nearly five hours of introduction to your friendly neighborhood winers, complete with—obvi—wine tasting, snacks, and schmoozing.
The next one coming up is the "Who's Yo Daddy" edition, scheduled for the titularly appropriate Father's Day date of June 15, which is either the perfect way to bond with pops all afternoon or the perfect way to ignore him. Your call! Tickets can be scored right here.
The trouble with learning how to do stuff is that it takes too damn long! Luckily there's Max who used his Vine account to make the most encompassing compilation on how-to-do stuff in the history of humankind—and each how-to is only six seconds or less! Oh, and did I mention some are disgustingly hilarious and NSFW? I knew I forgot something.
Quick heads up, film nerds! Tonight from 6 to 10 at Migration Brewing Co. (2828 NE Glisan), NW Documentary is having a bingo night, with all proceeds going towards the organization's library. Bingo cards are $3 each, there'll be prizes, and you'll be helping out a local, film-focused nonprofit. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night, right? (I'd be there, but I have to go to a screening of After Earth so I can write a review for you ungrateful jerks. You're welcome.) More info's over on the event's page on Facebook.
Everything about this news story about a pony pooping inside a liquor store is perfect. Sooooo... since humanity has obviously reached the apex of perfection, I'm thinking it's time we should all just hang it up. See you on the other side, suckers! (BLAM!! plop.)
"Mixology" is the theme of tonight's after hours event at OMSI (for a 21+ crowd only, obviously). Featuring a spirits tasting from members of Oregon's own distilling community, live Prohibition-era music, and other vendors peddling wares to an increasingly inebriated crowd, this promises to be one of the more lively editions that the OMSI After Dark series has seen. Chat with local distilling professionals, learn about the science behind your favorite mixed drinks, and otherwise enjoy being in a museum full of hard liquor. The evening of boozy fun runs from 6-10 pm, while $25 buys admission, 10 tasting tokens for the spirits tasting, and a souvenir shot glass for non-members (advance tickets are recommended). Food and lower-proof drinks will be available from the museum's cafe and other vendors.
Haha, grow up, they are actual metal cans. But seriously, from the New Age Old Questions file: "Why are these cans so tall?"
Have you seen these tallboy giant cans from Oskar Blues? Dale's Pale Ale and Mama's Little Yella Pils in 19oz cans that are too tall for your post-ironic slap-on can koozie? WHY ARE THEY SO TALL? 19.2 ounces is an arbitrary number! It's not even a round number of milliliters! They claim it's an "Imperial Pint" from "overseas." I refuse to accept that, for the purposes of this blog post's obstinate incredulity. So, ahem: Don't tread on me, and don't tread on my normal sized cans (unless they're empty and you're going to recycle them).
Anyway, the beer is delicious and Belmont Station is doing a tasting tonight from 5:00 - 8:00pm. If you buy two, they probably won't tell you why it comes in 19.2oz servings, but they will at least give you free koozie that fits those huge, beautiful cans.
Grow up, seriously.
Mayor Charlie Hales' plan to extend—over substantial neighborhood concern—Old Town's five-month-old "entertainment district" will come before council this afternoon, in what could prove a lengthy, testy hearing.
City commissioners will take their first crack at an ordinance [PDF] prepared at the direction of Hales earlier this month, authorizing cops and the city's Bureau of Transportation to extend the district through October.
The zone—a collection of streets in Old Town's nightclub district closed off on Friday and Saturday nights—has proven controversial since its inception in December. Some bar and restaurant owners in the area, initially supportive, now say the district is hampering business. And there are concerns the street closures to-date have made the area look like a ghostly police state—a far cry from the "street festival" atmosphere Hales' says he'd like to create.
Police, meanwhile, love the street closures, and contend crime is down since they began.
Conflict-of-Interest Pony requires us to point out the connection between North Portland watering hole the Old Gold and the Portland Mercury—the bar was built on the burial ground of all our former music editors, or so the legend goes—but Beer-Drinkin' Burro also insists that we tell you about the awesome thing they've got planned for tomorrow with Double Mountain Brewery.
When the Old Gold first opened its doors back way back in 2011, the first drink they sold was Double Mountain's Vaporizer. It's been a staple of their taps ever since. And tomorrow, May 23, starting at 4 pm, the Old Gold is letting the Hood River brewery take over several of their taps, which means four Double Mountain beers will be pouring at all times. I'm told they'll have some super rare beers that you won't be able to get anywhere else in Portland, plus food specials, as well as OG's customized whiskey pairings. If you're looking for a beer tomorrow, you know where to go.
The Old Gold, 2105 N Killingsworth, Thurs May 23, 4 pm-close
By now, Portland beer geeks have seen the first few beers from De Garde Brewing come and—often pretty quickly—go. The brand new Tillamook wild-fermentation brewery released two beers at various beer bars around the city, and those lucky enough to try them have apparently been impressed. Or at least thirsty.
That success doesn’t appear to be going to De Garde’s sole two owner/employees’ heads, though. In the short time I spoke with co-owner and brewer Trevor Rogers, he was many times moved almost to tears trying to explain the feeling of talking to early fans of the beers.
Dropping his head and bringing it back up kind of flushed and watery-eyed, he says, “I don't even know how to say it... It’s amazing, having people say, you know, ‘This is the best thing we’ve had today.’ We’re humbled, still.”
That humility is all the more impressive if you’ve been one of those lucky enough to taste the beer. The two beers that had made the trip to Portland as of early this week were a beautifully tart Berliner weisse, Bu Weisse, and a bourbon barrel aged strong dark ale called Loak. At 2.1% and 11.7% ABV respectively, they represent distant ends of the spectrum of ales. Rogers says this wasn’t on purpose—he and co-owner Linsey Hamacher just brought what was ready.
I just moved into the Dekum/Woodlawn area and it's the shit, don't move there, people like me are already ruining it.
A few nights ago I wandered into the soft opening of the Oregon Public House, a new bar (and eventual brewery) underneath the Village Ballroom.
Billing itself as "the nation's first non-profit pub", proceeds from the Oregon Public House go to support local charitable organizations. It's an attempt to do some good with the fact that—as founder Ryan Saari notes in the below video—during times of economic strife, charitable giving goes down, but alcohol sales go up. The pub will support a range of local and international social and environmental charities; the full list is here.
What this means is I get to feel 100% self-righteous about drinking awesome beer at a pleasant neighborhood pub. DON'T RUIN THIS FOR ME, INTERNET COMMENTERS.
The grand opening is on Friday, but it's currently in soft-open mode with a full food and drink menu. 700 NE Dekum, Tues-Sun 3-11 pm.
Weekend whiskey lovers rejoice: this weekend's WhiskeyFest Northwest, a celebration of everyone's (at least my) favorite dark spirit, promises a grand old time in Northwest Portland. Complete with music, food, and of course, more distilleries than you can safely sample in one day, the fun runs 11 am to 10 pm on May 11, and is organized by the Luna Foundation to benefit CASA for Children, a nonprofit that "advocates for children in the court system who have been abused or neglected to get them into a permanent home safely, quickly and effectively."
Featuring the full spectrum of whiskeys from Bourbon staples like Jim Beam to Irish favorite Jameson, a $25 admission includes tasting tokens for three of the featured distilleries with additional tokens available for $2 each. Food will be available for purchase from vendors like Bunk Sandwiches, Fire on the Mountain, and What’s The Scoop, with Widmer Bros. brews and a full cocktail bar—pardon me, a "Bootlegger Lounge"—rounding out with lower-proof offerings. A cocktail competition and tasting contest will interrupt a music schedule featuring tunes from Bronze Radio Return, Spirit Family Reunion, Sassprilla, and more. The festival is located at NW 11th and Northrup and tickets are available here UNLESS you're the winner of the two special tickets that the ever-generous giveaway gods have dropped in our laps. For a shot at the freebies, e-mail your name to our editor here by noon on Friday with "WHISKEY" in the subject line and we'll choose a single winner of two passes to this inaugural event. Happy drinking, Blogtown!
The most popular person in the house after a “town hall” style meeting this evening to determine the fate of the city’s new “entertainment district” might have been Paul van Orden.
As the meeting dispersed, Portland’s noise control officer was ringed with Old Town residents, all inquiring what types of sticks he could wield that would silence the district’s noisy night clubs.
The ultimate fate of the “entertainment district”— the name given to the bar-filled section of Old Town streets closed off on weekend nights since December—is uncertain. But van Orden’s popularity, at least, seems a sure signal of where it’s headed.
And it seems likely the district will carry on until the end of the year. Mayor Charlie Hales announced at the meeting he’d be crafting an ordinance to put to a city council vote in two weeks.
“Let’s continue this as a pilot project for six more months,” he said.
Hales presented the business owners, neighborhood residents and social services staff gathered at Bud Clark Commons his ideas for the future of the district. It should include more food options, he said, as well as more outside seating. The district could shoot for a “street festival” atmosphere, Hales suggested, but with plenty of attention to how noisy the neighborhood’s bars are allowed to be.
“It oughta look like a place that’s inviting, and where people want to go.” He added, almost as an aside: “Oh, and we need money.”
That’s likely to be a sticking point. Because as rosy a picture as Hales painted of the attractive, bustling district he envisions, the city’s not going to pay the tab forever. Through March, the street closures cost nearly $10,000 a month.
Hales will instead probably look to expand parking meter hours in the area, possibly until 2 am. And he’s frequently suggested lately an “assessment district,” where area property owners all contribute to a community pot that takes care of improvements, is a viable option.
But, as the Mercury's reported, those districts need community buy-in, and the community this evening seemed largely opposed to street closures. Many opposed the notion of a bar district to begin with.
Bubbly wine is clearly the Disneyland of influences, in my opinion: the Happiest Drunk on Earth, and no longer exclusively for special occasions. Beginning today and running through Mother's Day, Portland Bubbles Week has arrived to promote the accessibility and general enjoyment of the most delightful beverage in its local form. Founding event producer Argyle Winery has organized tastings and workshops at restaurants, food carts, grocery stores, and events around town, from samples at Tuesday's Taste of the Nation to a Mother's Day Brunch at Raven & Rose. Some events are already sold out, like a promising oyster event at the Parish, but there is plenty of fun to be had and corks to be popped. A week-long faux-Champagne spree is the perfect way to celebrate our early Summer.
Filling a half-mile gap in the craft cocktail scene between Laurelhurst Market and Hale Pele, a beautifully-themed new watering hole called Church opened earlier this month on NE 26th and Sandy. Replete with a photo booth disguised as a confessional, a promising menu of southern fare, and as broad of a drink menu as you could ask for, Church is run by a small group of Portland industry veterans and promises to be a stellar addition to NE Sandy's otherwise less-than-charming vibe along that stretch of the road. Minor kinks in my early visit will hopefully be resolved or at least compensated for - the music was absolutely deafening in the nearly empty space on a Monday evening, and a self-serve water station failed to impress (I'm ready to pay $10 for an amazing cocktail, but a good bartender should pour my damn water before I do). I'm sure Church will find a loyal following of regulars that don't mind or notice such conditions, but I hope they amend those particular details. Service was otherwise prompt, courteous, and well-oiled for an establishment so fresh, and the space itself is delightfully dark and medieval.
I sampled the fried okra off the food menu, which now stands as my favorite bar snack in town, a generous portion of perfectly battered and fried vegetable seasoned well and not yielding an ounce of crunch to added Louisiana hot sauce. Other options on the extensive dinner and happy hour menus are promising, spanning every dietary restriction and price point. Church's specialty cocktails don't try to revolutionize anything, a refreshing if uninspiring approach—the Hang Your Cross, featuring Bulleit Rye, Fernet, angostura, and Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao is the spirit-forward punch in the mouth that you should expect when ordering, not fussing around with subtlety for a second. The Great Fire offered more balance and just as much fun with a lively mix of Tequila, lime, grapefruit, sugar, dill, and cayenne. Other drink options are as varied as the edible side, from $3 beers to some stellar French and Italian wines by the glass and everything in between. Church already trumps most bars in town in terms of versatility of offerings—it would be just as easy to spend $6 for a beer and a snack as it would $30 for a full dinner and wine. Check it out before it gets incredibly busy—I promise you, it will.
Our pal Vince Mancini from Film Drunk (and Mercury reviewer, too!) introduces us to this truly bizarre clip, apparently from the 1979 Bond parody The Man from S.E.X. (seriously, check out the character names on the IMDB page) in which an evil topless dancer with razor blades twirling from her nipples very nearly dispatches our hero! (The wooden chair, however, wasn't so lucky. Can we get a broom and a dust pan up in here, please?) Kinda NSFW, but what the hey, it's Friday.
Joe's Cellar, one of the better dives/diners in the NW 21st area, will close its doors this weekend after city officials deemed the building too dangerous.
According to an entry dated Thursday on the city's Portland Maps website, "the building is leaning out and the roof joists have separated from the wall so that the wall is no longer attached to the roof."
The bar is in full swing tonight, though.
"Sunday is the last hoorah," said bartender Sara Blanke, who answered the phone at Joe's this evening. "It's sad. We all just found out today."
Blanke said the bar will stay open through Sunday night. If you're a fan of Joe's Cellar, and don't require the walls to connect to the roof in your drinking holes, maybe stop in.
In case you haven't heard, bartender Steve Grimm of the Pearl District's Bluehour nearly caught his whole bar on fire last week while he was working with high-proof spirits near an OPEN FLAME (also known as a candle). He suffered the worst for his folly, with first and second degree burns and an overnight stay at the hospital. Naturally this puts him out of commission for a minute and costs a pretty penny—and like the majority of service industry workers, poor Steve must therefore rely on the kindness of others rather than good old-fashioned safety nets like health insurance. Aforementioned "others" include his friends at neighboring bars/restaurants and his very own place of work.
Order a Mariachi at Bluehour through the rest of the month and 100% of proceeds go to patching up Mr. Grimm. Involving a delicious combination of Milagro Blanco tequila, Pernod absinthe, orange flower water, lime, and agave nectar, this drink will make you thank a sorry situation for the excuse to order a second. Across the street,Riffle NW is offering to donate all proceeds from any drink made with Dogwood Distilling's DL Franklin Vodka as well, and while I haven't discovered exactly what it is yet, Oven & Shaker will also offer something similarly awesome. So grab a tall cocktail with a little extra ice for those burns, and wish this guy luck in avoiding similarly flaming incidents in the future.
|Most Popular||I, Anonymous||Best of the Merc|
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!