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Sep 15, 2013 07:02 PM

Best cocktails near SW 10th & Stark or SE 10th & Morrison

Attending a conference next weekend and staying at the Ace hotel downtown on SW 10th and Stark. Conference is at SE 10th and Morrison at the Yale Union. Schedule will be hectic given lots of evening events.

Hoping to squeeze in a quick breakfast or two at Tasty & Alder/Kenny & Zuke's/Bunk Downtown, maybe a food cart if the weather holds out, as well as a few cocktails. If we have the time and can get away.

My list so far is Kask and Clyde Common near the Ace Hotel. And Rum Club (friend works there) and the bar at Nostrana. Thoughts?

What else is 10-15 minutes away?

How busy are these on weekends? Are any "no standing" like speakeasies in NYC? Will we be subject to a long wait if more than 2 people?

If you only had the opportunity for one drink somewhere near downtown, where would it be? Preference for creative and interesting drinks -- house made tinctures, syrups, bitters, infusions, etc. Some favorites in other cities include PDT, Pouring Ribbons, Booker & Dax, Pegu Club, and Death & Co in NYC, The Hawthorne and Drink in Boston, The Aviary & Billy Sunday in Chicago, Columbia Room in DC.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Best downtown bar is Teardrop, very short walk from Ace.
    Nostrana? Why?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Leonardo

      Teardrop's house cocktails menu doesn't really grab me for some reason.

      Nostrana's Rooster Bar is known for negronis, yes? My husband loves negronis and Nostrana seems very close to the conference site.

      1. re: kathryn

        FWIW, the bartenders at Teardrop were very adept at coming up with drinks based on your preferences. I had the same issue the two times we went and they were able to make me happy. Another friend who was with us was so enamoured of the Artistaint she had that she returned the next trip just for that. Though they had removed it from the menu, they were happy to whip her up one.

    2. For breakfast:

      Clyde Common
      Tasty & Alder

      Would not do Kenny & Zukes, given that you are coming from NYC.

      Food carts:

      You will be closest to the 10th & Alder cart pod (in terms of your hotel) and Nong's, People's Pig, and Eurotrash are a few of the best. Not all are open on the weekend. If a cart doesn't make sense, a sandwich (or burger, one of the best in the city) at Lardo or some pasta at Grassa would be close by and quick as well.

      As for cocktails:

      Clyde Common and Kask are great. Kask reminds me a bit of Lantern's Keep. Unlike NYC, you should be able to get in anywhere. I don't think any of them have a "no-standing" policy. In the area, I also like Imperial and Raven & Rose for cocktails. Of all of these, only Kask is truly a bar. The rest are restaurants with great food that also happen to have a very solid bar program. All are within walking distance of your hotel.

      If only time for one spot downtown, I think my vote would be for Kask. Check the closing times in case you are thinking of going later. Places out here do not stay open very late compared to NYC. Up to 4 people, you should be able to get into any of these.

      Are you looking for other things on the East side?

      3 Replies
      1. re: cobpdx

        Thanks! Your midnight is 3am East Coast time so I am sure it'll be fine.

        Last year the conference organizers set up a temporary food cart pod in front of the conference building. So I'm waiting to see who the carts may be.

        If its raining, what do Portlanders typically do at food carts?

        1. re: kathryn

          Continue using them, taking the food to a covered area and eating it there. All the eastside pods have covered seating, as does Director's Park downtown.

          Where does Kathryn say she's from NYC?

          1. re: Leonardo

            I am from NYC & cobpdx and I have run into each other on other CH boards. :)

      2. I like both the Rum Club (their Rum Club Daiquiri is awesome) and the Rooster bar at Nostrana. And yes, the Rooster Bar makes fabulous negronis (I'm a sidecar kinda woman myself and they make a great one - ask 'em to use Pierre Ferrand cognac in it) - great stop for a charcuterie plate too, one of the best in town. (In fact, last week the GF and I started at Rum Club (happy hour there is 7 days/week, btw) had a drink and a nibble and then went to Nostrana for a couple more drinks and a charcuterie plate.

        Clyde Common and Kask are solid for cocktails. If you want to slide into dinner after cocktails without going anywhere, then do it at Clyde Common, the food is good there too.

        If beer is your thing, when at Yale Union, you will be near some good brewpubs (good for the beer, the food, not so much, sadly) such as: Cascade Brewing (known for their sours - if you are a fan, get thee here) and Green Dragon.

        Good food near you on SE Morrison includes Meat, Cheese, Bread at SE Stark and 14th, Bunk Sandwiches at Morrison and 6th, and Nostrana also does lunch service.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JillO

          Thanks for the recommendations! Not really into beer but will use the cocktail info.

          1. re: JillO

            Well, I happen to be a negroni kinda woman and we coincidentally had reservations there tonight with my cousin and her husband. I had the Negroni of the month and can not really recommend it. It sounded intriguing, with the Campari ice cube, but I kept getting notes of rose flavor which just did not appeal to me.

            The Quintessential Negroni, on the other hand, was quite good, although a fairly straightforward version.

            Too bad Clyde Common does not currently have their barrel aged negroni (they do have other barrel aged cocktails available though).

            1. re: cobpdx

              Clyde Common online menu is out of date! They have the barrel aged Negroni again!

            2. re: JillO

              Unfortunately we discovered Nostrana doesn't do weekend lunch.

            3. Another vote for Nostrana - I have had several great inventive cocktails there over the past year(s) and their Negroni is quite good. Another good option near your hotel is Oven & Shaker (partially owned by Cathy Whims also). They make many of their cocktail ingredients inhouse.

              IMO, Teardrop is a shadow of its former self.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ekc

                Wow. The bottom of the Oven & Shaker cocktail menu is... intense!

                "The sole use of juices pressed and extracted DAILY in-house.

                The service of all cocktails and highballs in glasses frozen to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

                The exclusive use of purified large format and Scotsman “Nugget” Ice

                Serving all martinis stirred unless otherwise requested.."

                1. re: kathryn

                  Yeah, they are pretty serious! :-)

                  1. re: ekc

                    Oven and Shaker is on our list for October, and that menu excerpt has moved it into the must try column : -).

              2. Quick in progress trip report.

                Ran into friend on our flight who had a rental car reserved in Portland. Groggy and still on East Coast time, headed to Pok Pok for a late dinner. Waited at Whiskey Soda lounge and snacked on spicy wings. Had a great pineapple drinking vinegar. Liked the wings, too. Big and meaty and spicy. Pok Pok was pretty good as well. Grilled boar neck, papaya Pok Pok, spicy water spinach, wild gulf prawns. Didn't really care for the infused water. Boar neck was the clear standout. Bottom of the papaya salad was too sweet due to the dressing. Water spinach was simple but tasty. Good meal overall.

                Next day had breakfast at Tasty & Alder. Really good biscuit sandwich with bacon. Korean fried chicken was pretty good as well, but hard to share. A little too sweet. Great service.

                Had Nong's for lunch, wanted to hit it up while the weather was still nice. The sauce really makes the dish. The broth was just kind of there. Overall, tasty and I see why people love it. It ended up being a very light lunch though and we were pretty hungry a little later.

                Stopped by Clyde Common for a punch of the day and a barrel aged Negroni. Both excellent. They weren't too slammed around 4-5pm surprisingly.

                Early dinner at Apizza Scholls on the recommendation of a friend. Very impressive place. Would be right at home in Brooklyn. Did half margherita and half mushroom/pepper. Great sauce where you can really taste the tomatoes. Excellent cheese as well. The combo they use kind of reminds me of Di Fara. Nice crust (good texture, springyness, good char on bottom) but the toppings felt more like the star. Really enjoyed this place and we have eaten at a lot of good pizza places in NYC.

                Afterwards, ended up doing a nightcap at Rum Club. Great little and casual spot. I had what was essentially a cachaca based pina colada. Husband had a take on the Mai Tai. Both were excellent. Very nice, low key bar. Wasn't too busy either.

                Quick breakfast this morning at Blue Star. Blueberry, bourbon, basil was amazing. Not super sweet, nice herbal finish, a little tart. Also liked the maple bacon doughnut, so fluffy and a little bit salty for balance. The old fashioned was too big and heavy. The filling made it seem very very sweet. Probably best to share this one with multiple people. Between the two of us, three doughnuts made us both sugared out for the morning.

                Quick lunch at the Koi truck in front of the conference center. Bulgogi sliders for my husband. Bulgogi rice bowl for me. Generous portions. Excellent kimchi. Liked this a lot. Say outside and enjoyed the sun.

                Conference has started in earnest so not sure where we'll end up. Hopefully Bunk or Lardo at least once.

                5 Replies
                1. re: kathryn

                  Nice report, thanks. Glad you seem to be enjoying things so far.

                  Agree with Nong's broth. I believe it is traditional to serve the dish with a side of broth, but I usually skip it. The sauce is available commercially now (at least locally - not sure about online) and makes for a tasty and easy weeknight stir fry.

                  Any Pok Pok PDX vs. Pok Pok NYC comparisons? We haven't made a point to go to the NYC version because of the "so many places, so little time" issue when in NYC, but I am curious if there are any significant differences.

                  Enjoy the rest of your trip.

                  1. re: cobpdx

                    We never go to the Brooklyn one due to the rumored 2-3 hour waits & the location (not much close by).

                  2. re: kathryn

                    Back at Tasty & Alder for breakfast. Bambino plate for me. Lovely biscuit with honey butter, slice of bacon, scrambled eggs. Husband had the breakfast sandwich and don't share. Snagged the last two open seats at 9:15am on a Saturday.

                    Lunch was at PDX 671. Two fiesta plates and a side of cucumber salad. Cucumber salad was tart and refreshing. Tasted vaguely Chinese. Shrimp fritter with peas and corn was awesome! Red rice and grilled chicken nice but not amazing. Unfortunately, the kelaguen mannok was sold out. Great people working there though.

                    More later.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Oh, sad about the kelaguen mannok! But great to hear the shrimp fritters are worth a return trip.

                    2. re: kathryn

                      Forgot to mention our dinner at Screen Door thanks to a friend who drove us. A party of five on a Friday night, 7:45pm, only waited about 40 minutes. Much less than I was expecting. Had a nice butter lettuce salad and a few bites of a friend's mac and cheese. Very creamy and seemed to have some mayo in it (not my preference). The fried chicken was excellent. Juicy and flavorful. Batter was also well spiced. It did take a little getting used to the boneless pieces though. The gravy for the mashed potatoes was also excellent. Collards were a bit bland. The platter was big enough to share. None of us finished ours.

                      Did Nostrana for another dinner, really lovely place. Grabbed the last two seats at the bar around 6:45pm. Gin Rickey the Hard Way was lovely: Hendricks gin, lime, cucumber-basil bitters, absinthe, soda carbonated to order. My husband's standard negroni was also great. Shared wood cooked padron peppers with aioli to start. Hard to dip the peppers in--this was a knife and fork operation. Husband had pizza: wild mushrooms with arugula, garlic, pecorino, and mozzarella. Really, really good. Balanced, flavorful, thin crust. I wanted to call it Mary Poppins pizza: practically perfect in every way! My pasta was also excellent. Tomato, guanciale, red onion, and "priest stranglers." Wiped the plate clean. Left completely stuffed. Excellent and super friendly service. Great bartenders too.

                      For a nightcap, stopped back into Clyde Common and shared another barrel aged Negroni (so good) and a grilled cheddar with pickled jalapeño sandwich. Delightful.

                      Went to the downtown Bunk for breakfast one day. Egg, cheese, sausage on a roll. Nice price and a decently sized portion. The house made sausage is excellent and the cheese perfectly gooey. But I think we were spoiled by the one at Tasty & Alder. Portland sure does know how to do biscuits.

                      Lunch was Meat Cheese Bread. Great turkey sandwich with cheese, lettuce, lots of aioli and delicious crumbled bacon. Perfectly assembled. Perhaps the first turkey sandwich I've ever had that didn't have at least one dry bite. Or the bacon falling out as you ate it. Loved the heavy metal vibe as well.

                      Lastly, got to try the delicious sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons at Salt & Straw's cart. Wonderfully creamy and salty.

                      Overall, a great trip where we were able to try Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok, Tasty & Alder, Nong's Khao Man Gai, Clyde Common, Apizza Scholls, Rum Club, Blue Star Doughnuts, Koi Fusion Cart, Screen Door, PDX 671, Nostrana, Bunk Sandwiches, Meat Cheese Bread, and Salt & Straw.