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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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).