Mix A New Hope, In Absentia and a Bamboo Groove cocktail with Teardrop Lounge in Portland, Oregon.
How did you get started?
I came up from SF with the express purpose of opening a bar with my then business partner. I had been a bartender down there for 12 years, but wasn't privy to the sea change taking place int he cocktail world at the time. As we got knee-deep in the delays during the opening process, I began to study - more as a curiosity - what was becoming a fascination with my friends back home. They were pivotal in what was taking place, and hugely influential on the direction the bar assumed. This was 2006, so I was able to take a fledgling idea and run with it, without guidance, oversight, or existing models. Which was both a good and bad thing, but it made us who we are.
Where are you located?
We're in the Pearl District in Portland, OR.
What are your specialities?
Cocktails. That always sounds like a smug answer, but it's true. We have over 400 recipes in our rolodex now, as we change the menu frequently and continually add to our repertoire. So what we do best is engage with the guest and assist them in finding their liquid happy place. Our mantra is -simply- there is a right drink at the right time for everyone, and it's our job to find that.
What's your personal favorite thing on the menu?
That's a tough one to answer: 1) because our menu changes so frequently 2) because my tastes do, depending on the season; my mood; the time of day; the way the sunlight hits the buildings, etc. Right now, my favorite is the Force of Habit (pisco, our forbidden black rice horchata, and orange blossom water). But that will come off the menu in the next couple weeks.
This came up last week though, and if the question is what I'm proudest of, it would have to be our cocktail onions. Not because they're delicious, which they are. But because we've always made them from scratch, even though we've never had a Gibson on the menu and I don't like them. To me, the measure of a good program is it's ability to focus on all details and anticipate quality on the smallest scale.
What's on the stereo?
Tough question, we're all over the map. Mostly, it's old school funk and hip-hop.
Where else should we visit in your area?
Pépé Le Moko (down below Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel) is a great bunker of a bar with delightful cocktails, and Multnomah Whiskey Library is a gorgeous space with a ridiculously curated spirits list.
Do you host any special events?
No. I'm a firm believer that it's our job to be open to the public for all of our stated hours, reliably doing what we say we do.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Do you have a favorite cafe, restaurant or bar in your town that we should feature? Send us a message!