A mid-size, comfortable and reverent music and event venue. The hardwood floors, chandeliers and spacious elegance evoke the lobby of a Western hotel, reborn as a music hall and art nouveau lounge. The atmosphere is part club-house, part secret society. Karaoke, comedy and dancing round out the schedule.
This season, a brand-new bar has materialized alongside the established music venue for a true multisensory evening out. Recently released into the wild on July 10 of this year, Bar Bar's grand opening springboards an outdoor-patio concert series, smoking and non-smoking patios, and a creative cocktail menu. A succinct lineup will be available, with more options added with each massing moonset. Hang a fang on a 3/8 lb. classic burger ($5.50, $6 with cheese) before cooling off with a refreshing cocktail at the new space fashioned by renowned Portland entrepreneurs Alicia J. Rose, Jim Brunberg, Peter Bro (Aalto Lounge, Broder Cafe, Savoy Bistro), Tali Ovadia (The Whole Bowl), and Kevin Cradock.
Capitol City Theater's trained improvisers pass down years of stage-earned experience during improvisational-comedy workshops. Fears about performing in public evaporate during two-hour classes as pupils invent scenes and play games that require them to act without scripts or the telepathic connection to William Shakespeare's ghost that guides most actors. During workshops, students master the basic tenets of improvisational comedy, such as saying "yes, and…" to everything, and take the first step toward joining Capitol City Theater's company of players and its main-stage ensemble. By combining risk taking with fast thinking, improv classes make interesting dates or help chronic jaywalkers construct more believable alibis.
The River Rock Summer Concert Series spreads out along the bank of the Willamette River, drawing crowds to watch legends and rising stars of rock, blues, and soul strut their stuff. Local Northwest wine and beer offerings are available and food vendors dish up everything from pulled pork and mac and cheese to jambalaya and oyster shooters. Families can enjoy the children’s area presented by Discovery Village with hands on activities such as blowing bubbles or constructing a functional recording booth from giant blocks.
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
When they first opened, Primrose & Tumbleweeds sold 47 types of wine by the bottle. Today, their selection has increased to more than 4,000 wines, with regional pride fueling its growth—the store features a gigantic sampling of wines made in Oregon and the Northwest. Such a sizable inventory might seem intimidating, but the staff has settled on a few surefire methods for doling out sips: daily tastings, an ever-changing "Today's Pour" menu, and a weekday happy hour that runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., not to mention live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Even though wine is the main event, the venue is no mere wine bar. More than 250 craft beers and 75 hard ciders round out the list of libations, in addition to small-batch spirits that are distilled locally. The food menu proves just as changeable as the drink specials, with seasonal dishes such as bratwurst simmered in Guinness and the remains of a local snowman. The kitchen's ingredients are typically local, and the prep, hands-on. For example, homemade soups full of mushrooms and Hungarian spices complement sandwiches piled with turkey, brie, and whole-berry cranberry sauce.