I may never go back to the classic Manhattan.
When you get the same FTD white teddy bear hugging a vase with a single red rose (two years in a row), it’s understandable to start reevaluating the reasons we celebrate certain holidays. This year in Portland, you’ll find many ways to celebrate or rage in defiance: wine flights and small plates, aphrodisiacs, strip clubs or a spanking booth. Take your pick.
Valentine’s for Two SE Wine Collective (2425 SE 35th Pl.; 503-208-2061) SE Wine Collective’s Valentine’s Day special includes “Pour Your Heart Into It” glass pours that will come to you in a two-glass special for $18. The wine list includes: Champ Divin Crémant de Jura – Sparkling Brut Rosé NV (Biodynamic), 2011 Chateau Peybonhomme-Les Tour – Côtes de Blays, Cru Bourgeois (Organic – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec). Next move onto the “Hey There, Hot Stuff” small plates. These small plates should only be consumed by way of a tiny fork shoveled into your pie hole by a loved one: Baked Camembert with a spiced hazelnut crust and Pinot poached Oregon cranberries, served with Little T baguette and fresh apple slices and flourless chocolate fudge cake a la mode with Salt & Straw’s Black Walnuts and Bow and Arrow (SEWC Alumni) Gamay Jam ice cream. Each $9 small plate serves two. Available Wednesday, 2/12 through Sunday, 2/16.
Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiac Dinner Cocotte (2930 NE Killingsworth St.; 503-227-2669) Chef and owner Kat LeSueur of Cocotte sure knows how to set the mood. She’s offering a 6-course meal ($75) Friday Feb. 14th or Saturday, Feb. 15th that will include aphrodisiacs such as mussels, oysters, lamb, chocolate, chilies and avocado. If you want to get all hot and bothered, reservations are strongly advised. Dinner served 5-10 PM.
Ain’t 2 Proud to Beg White Owl Social Club (1305 SE 8th Ave.; 503-236-9672) Wouldn’t that be adorable if you found your one true love at a Valentine’s Day dance party? That way, when your grandparents ask you how you met, you can pass right over the part about meeting in a bar. They’ll imagine more of an American Legion Post 134 kind of night. The story you tell your friends will be full of themed food and cocktail specials, beats by DJ Ronic Roc and the real story of how you met your one true love.
Heartless Heathers 14th Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Party Alberta Abbey (126 NE Alberta St.) Keywords for this party to include: Raucous, Debauchery, and all of it’s going down in a church. Join the Heartless Heathers for Midway games, a spanking booth (dear, God), a live DJ, an Anti-Valentine’s Day Cornhole toss, photo booth, raffle, and the Wheel of Misfortune. Custom cocktails will be served by your favorite Heathers skaters. An anti-celebration it may be — we’re not complaining — it’s still a party in honor of St. Valentine. If you want additional details about the party (particularly the spanking booth), maybe don’t call the church?
NOmance Night by Portland Short Bus Starts at Gil’s Speakeasy Tavern (609 1/2 SE Taylor St.; 503- 234-8991) NOmance is still ‘mance and especially when you have to pay for it. Hop on the short bus with 11 other soon-to-be-buds for a tour of Portland dives and one strip club, “for good measure.” The lonely hearts tour starts at 7 PM at Gil’s Speakeasy and for an extra $20 the bus will drop you off at whatever address you desire (the idea is that you get dropped at your home but we’re not judging).
“Inevitably, to write about booze is to enter a minefield of controversy.”
As paraphrased by Craig Heron author of “Booze: A Distilled History” As he says, “the word booze itself encapsulates the two polar opposites in the rhetorical wars over alcoholic beverages.” Oh, so very true.
Whether it’s a Big Easy bash with Mardi Gras beads, the 23rd Annual Champagne Ball, a quiet night in a wine bar or a house party and then New Year’s Day Brunch — there’s something going on in Portland for every level of desired partying. These are our picks for pre-New Year celebrations, New Year’s Eve and the first day of the new year.
Pre-New Year – December 28
Pull out your threads from 1979 (or for some of us here in Portland, just show up in your everyday vintage attire). Pairings Portland is hosting a dance night and champagne flight tasting ($30) to celebrate the new year. If you look groovy, you’ll get 10% off take-home bottles to pop on the 31st (455 NE 24th Ave.; 541-531-7653).
New Year’s Eve – December 31
23rd Annual Champagne Ball at Portland Hilton 8 PM–2 AM; $95 & up
Seventeen bars. Need we say more? We’ll be following the #champagneball2013 hash tag from wherever we end up. Going strong for 23 years, it’s one of Portland’s most well known NYE celebrations. If you haven’t been yet, give it a good college try (921 SW 6th Ave.; 503-226-1611).
Migration Brewing 8 PM; PAYG
Migration Brewing celebrates with its annual New Year’s Bash on December 31st. Doors open at 8 PM for music, food and bubbly. You’ll also get the first look at the brewery’s 2,000 square foot expansion. Cross Pollination, a new champagne beer made from Bee Local honey and a touch of Meridian hops will likely we the shining star of the night (2828 NE Glisan St.; 503-206-5221).
Pocket that noisemaker, you’ll need both hands free at midnight because there will be a free(!) chocolate buffet. It will take all of the restraint we didn’t use in 2013 to not fill a to-go purse with chocolate cake, ice cream, mousse, truffles, beer, meringue and more. It’s Bruce Bogtrotter’s wet dream. Lest we not forget a champagne sabering under the same roof that holds Portland’s largest selection of sparkling wine (2225 E Burnside St.; 971-271-7166).
A New Year’s Eve Dance Spectacular at Crystal Ballroom 6:30 PM, Show at 7:30 PM; $55
Pink Martini and Chevona headline his NYE dance night at the Crystal Ballroom. There will be a photo booth, prize wheel, fortune teller, champagne specials and dancing. It’s probably too late to book a hotel room but maybe just meet and strike up small talk with somebody that has a room key? (1332 W Burnside St.; 503-225-0047)
2014 New Year’s Eve at Kennedy School 9 PM; $15
Jam out with your sparkling wine glass raised. Urban Sub All Stars with Mosley Wotta, Tony Smiley and Redwood Son will be set up at Kennedy School around 9 PM, ready to dazzle the crowd (5736 NE 33rd Ave.; 503-249-3983).
Additionally, McMenamins has other New Year’s Eve celebrations happening at Edgefield, Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, Grand Lodge, Hotel Oregon and more. Details here.
Oso Market + Bar 8 PM; $20
It’s not too late to RSVP to this classy, private party at Oso Market + Bar. It’s a “Full Glamour” kind of bash with beats thrown by DJ Wann tributing Lou Reed. The $20 entry fee keeps out the riff raff in JNCO jeans and covers free tapas, deals on premium drinks, and bottles of fizz. To RSVP email email@example.com (726 SE Grand Ave.; 503-232-6400).
Acadia 5 PM–close; $65
Starting at 5 PM, get down on some Louisiana BBQ Shrimp, Blue Crab Gumbo, Filet of NY Striploin, in addition to a stack of other choices ($65). We’re not as young as we used to be either, so if you can make it until midnight you will be rewarded with noisemakers and Mardi Gras beads (1303 NE Fremont St.; 503-249-5001).
Remedy Wine Bar 4 PM–midnight; PAYG
For its first year, Remedy Wine bar located in the North Park Blocks, is throwing its own New Year celebration. The full menu will be available in addition to some celebratory extras like oysters and sparkling wine flights. Reservations recommended (733 NW Everett St.; 503-222-1449).
Post New Year’s Eve – January 1
3rd Annual New Year’s Day Brunch at Swift 10 AM; Free Bacon
Swift Lounge on Broadway Avenue does bottomless bacon with Kevin Bacon displayed for all to see. Mimosas are a thing too. Guess you’ll have to start that cleanse on January 2nd. You might get to see a clip of Ryan Gosling punching Kevin Bacon, but we get the gist the afternoon is pro-Bacon. We’re praying for “Tremors” (1932 Northeast Broadway St.; 503- 288-3333).
Industrial, dark and vast, Central Eastside and Inner Southeast present both rugged and refined happy hour options. Whether it’s a winery, outdoor-obsessed brewery, neighborhood bar, or swanky cocktails you seek, you’ll find them in this often overlooked area of Portland. When the clock strikes five, check out these drinking establishments for the best deals and most charismatic surroundings. – See more at: http://portland.thedrinknation.com/articles/read/11925-Happy-Hour-Crawl-Central-Eastside-and-Inner-Southeast
Photos by Mary Locke. Top center Base Camp Brewing photo by Karen Locke.
If I could just write about dives, hidden bars, and establishments so rad that the owners can’t even perceive the coolness—I’d be content. But we need balance don’t we? That’s why I always pair my Kitty Glitter with a little bubbly. These six bars are some of my favorite hidden bars in Portland.
Via Drink Portland
We know how cherished and highly regarded neighborhood dives and speakeasies can become — when Portlandia filmed at The Nest on Alberta, cries of disgust from regulars could be heard all over Northeast Portland — but we also know how truly friendly Portland establishments can be. Check out this list of out a must-visit dives and speakeasies around town — but don’t be surprised if someone questions whether or not you’ve been there before.
When you need a dark dive in inner Portland with plenty of Keno, seek the solution in Hollywood. Bar hopping in Hollywood is like showing up to the Goodwill Bins and discovering someone has already carefully curated a bin full of vintage decanters and wall art, plus it’s all non-ironic and somehow not saturated in an unidentifiable fluid. Here are a few to start with — there are many more waiting to be discovered.
Blackwell’s Grub/Steak Grill: You haven’t truly experienced Blackwell’s, located across the street from the landmark Hollywood theater, until you’ve ordered a meat loaf muffin from the seat of your wheelie office chair. Make your way down the hallway lined with old photographs of patrons from the ‘70s before entering the women’s restroom, which doubles as a museum/botanical garden of silk flowers. If Blackwell’s is good enough for Michael Jordan, it’s good enough for the rest of us (look for his photo back by the pool tables). Talk to any of the bartenders and they’ll go on for quite some time about the trove of talented and famous jazz performers to walk through its doors (1815 NE 41st Ave.; 503-288-5164).
Pal’s Shanty: The black building and tinted windows of this Sandy Boulevard spot don’t have the dark, seedy interior one might expect from the penumbra-suggesting exterior. Gorgeous old hardwood floors and late ‘80s dining chairs give this brighter-than-expected seafood-dining hall a warm neighborhood feel. If it’s not a family-friendly clam fest night for you, try any of the cocktails such as the Peg Leg to get the debauchery started early (4630 NE Sandy Blvd.; 503-288-9732).
Houndog’s Bar and Grill: In the industrial area of SE Holgate Street and Milwaukie Avenue, you’ll find Houndog’s: calm by morning with no sign of the previous nights’ ruckus (other than a lone, broken Bud Light bottle on the patio). Saturday mornings bring old men in white Fruit of the Loom sweatshirts, collectively stewing about life over cups of coffee (4463 SE Milwaukie Ave.; 503-232-3547).
On the speakeasy tip, present-day versions exist in a completely different realm than Prohibition-era bars. Without getting too up tight about definition, Portland’s speakeasies are a place to unwind and “secretly” sip on a Moscow Mule, Rainier or other libations. Here are a few of our favorites.
Harlem: Look for Koi Fusion’s taco window (previously it sold crepes) on pedestrian-only Ankeny Street. Walk through a short hall (past the refrigerator) into the small but booming Harlem. Let the DJ, Red Bull and model vibes carry you through the night (220 SW Ankeny St.; 971-333-1220).
Paymaster Lounge: Don’t blink or you’ll miss this hidden Northwest District bar with a large patio. The sign for the building’s previous tenant, Paymaster Company, at least now matches the name of the business, since the space is no longer called Balls the Cat’s Moonshine Lounge. We’re not sure if it’s the killer happy hour, the patrons, the old beer signs or the urinating cat logo but something about this place makes it difficult to remember which side of the river we’re on (1020 NW 17th Ave.; 503-943-2780).
Circa 33: This Belmont Street bar not only celebrates the year prohibition was repealed with Moscow Mules and Negroni Sbagliatos, it has a secret bar located behind a revolving bookcase wall. Discover which book will allow you access to the secret bar and you will be rewarded with your own dark, (semi-) private drinking spot with an additional bartender posted up to keep the drinks flowing (3348 Se Belmont St.; 503-477-7682).
All-stars and celebrity chefs of the modern culinary world took over downtown Portland for Feast last weekend. Game-changers in the food scene weren’t alone in showing their best creations — mixologists, brewers, and winemakers were along for the ride, showing off new products and unexplored pairings and combinations. Here are four of our favorite boozy happenings at Feast 2013.
Not only did The Country Cat restaurant take home the people’s choice award for its lamb burger at the Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational, the crowd favorite came up with a stellar pairing by serving Widmer Brothers Steel Bridge Porter (5.6% ABV) with its savory and sweet little burgers.
Clear Creak Distillery’s Hood River Iced Tea
Clear Creek Distillery combined Steven Smith Fez Green Tea with its own pear brandy, liqueur, and Douglas Fir Eau de Vie along with fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, and Oregon-grown spearmint leaves. Served over ice, this jacked iced tea was optimal for sipping during the Feast USA Pears Night Market presented by Snake River Farms.
Sake Cider by Sake One
Sake One may be one of the largest distributers of sake in the nation, but when it comes to a fresh tasting cocktail using local ingredients the company brings it back home with its Sake Cider served at the Night Market. To make your own Sake Cider, infuse Hot Lips Pear soda with allspice berries for an hour. Remove the berries and mix with Oregon-made Moonstone Asian Pear.
Union Wine Co., maker of Underwood, Kings Ridge, and Alchemist aspires to end wine snobbery with its line of Underwood canned wines. Wine-Os at the Sandwich Invitational got a first glimpse into a new trend in wine drinking: keeping those pinkies down.
The canned wine hasn’t hit store shelves yet but we’ll keep you posted when it becomes available. Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia says it best when it comes to canned wine:
“I think it’s brilliant. I mean I’m active, I’m gesturing with my hands, and I don’t feel restricted. If I was holding a wine glass right now I’d be spilling wine all over the god damn place.”
via Drink Portland
Over the weekend, I attended the 2nd Annual Brews for New Avenues event, which raised money for New Avenues for Youth’s programs for at-risk and homeless youth. The event included a live auction of rare beers, a raffle, and rotating tap beer for sale donated by area breweries. 100% of proceeds from the event went to New Avenues for Youth.
Growing up in a “rough” neighborhood, I saw my fair share of meth labs, police, SWAT teams, and burglary (and one neighbor even owned a huge, black wild cat as a pet). I can say that my life took a different path, but many children aren’t so lucky.
Last year the event raised $17,000, and with the $50 VIP tickets selling out this year, it’s likely they raised even more funds. Of the many kegs donated by area breweries, my favorite brews were donated by Breakside Brewery, Pfriem, Ten Barrel, and Block 15.
Brews for New Avenues is said to be the only live auction of rare beer to ever be held in Portland and for such an indispensable cause, it’s an event I won’t miss next year.
We all have our own methods for curing aliments after a night of drinking: aspirin, more sleep, Gatorade or even a hair-of-the-dog drink (or three). However you bring yourself back to life, it shouldn’t be done by yourself. No more using that Popeye’s biscuit to wipe away your tears all by your lonesome — pal up, head out and let these 10 Portland businesses aid in your recovery.
Hangover Central at Swift Lounge: The folks at this NE Broadway District spot may have have had a hangover two of their own, judging from the on the bar’s brilliant execution of the Hangover Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM–3 PM. Alleviate your pain or just mask it, whichever you prefer. Nothing soaks up booze like a Monte Cristo made of three dredged brioche layers. Done suffering? Order the “Where is My Car?” from the “Bitchy Marys” section. It’s made of fresh mango, blood orange puree, carrot juice, pina-habanero-infused vodka and Emergen C vitamins, with a chili-salt rim (1932 NE Broadway; 503-288-33330).
Hair-of-the-dog drinks at Gruner: Those who have a “weekend” day off that actually falls between Monday–Friday canhead downtown to Gruner, where the cocktail menu is available starting at 11:30 AM daily.Try the Austrian Monk made from Monopolowa Austrian gin, Yellow Chartreuse, celery and lemon (527 SW 12th Ave.; 503-241-7163).
Bloody Mary at Holman’s Bar & Grill: If Boodies are your go-to hangover fix this longtime resident of the now up-and-coming restaurant scene of SE 28th Avenue is the place to be on a Sunday. There are 50 mixes to choose from and over 100 hot sauces to restart your whiskey-soaked endorphins (15 28th Ave.; 503-231-1093).
Breakfast pizza from Sizzle Pie: For just $6, you get a “morning after” special that consists of a slice of one of multiple breakfast pizzas plus the alcoholic brunch drink of your choice (624 E. Burnside St. or 926 W. Burnside; 503-234-PIES).
Bottomless mimosas at Club 21: For $10 you can forget about your hangover, and last night too. The bottomless bubbly is only available on Saturdays and Sundays and the bartender will kindly (and for your own good) cut you off by 2 PM — just enough time for a nap in the park before happy hour (2035 NE Glisan St.; 503-235-5690).
Pho from Ha VL Sandwich: Maybe it’s the spiciness. Maybe it’s the ginger root, or the savory broth. It doesn’t matter why — pho from Ha LV on SE 82nd Avenue just works magic on a hangover (2738 SE 82nd Ave. #102; 503-772-0103).
Squirt on tap and greasy breakfast from My Father’s Place: Whether or not you regularly drink soda, the sugar and carbonation can work wonders on a gnarly hangover, especially if you add the optional vodka. Give the greasy breakfast fare a good college try (523 SE Grand Ave.; 503-235-5494).
Stuff yourself at Cameo Café: This breakfast spot on the corner of NE 81st and Sandy Boulevard is the only place to order a “full acre” of hotcakes. The half-acre will only cost you $6.95, a fair price for such a massive amount of cake (8111 NE Sandy Blvd.; 503-284-0401).
Soak and steam out the booze at Common Ground Wellness Center: We know what you’re thinking, being hot and sweaty while hungover is awful, but try it just once and you’ll understand rejuvenation on a whole different level. Either that, or you’ll be shamed out of drinking that night by all of the healthy, vibrant looking people around you (5010 NE 33rd Ave.; 503-238-1065).
Keep it classy at Little Bird Bistro: Just because you’re hung over doesn’t mean you can’t keep it classy. This French-style downtown bistro opens for lunch Monday–Friday at 11:30 AM and offers “Just a Sip” sized cocktails like the Half Martini (vodka or gin) for just $4 (219 SW 6th Ave.; 503-688-5952).