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.
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.
Judd Rench's Bula Kava House transports diners to the calming South Pacific with a menu of exotic kava and Hawaiian cuisine. Kava, an ancient beverage originating from Oceania, is concocted by mixing water with a ground root similar to the black-pepper plant and straining out the liquid, producing calming effects on the imbiber. Slurp down a lulling libation such as the powerful Hawaiian Isa, which emanates a mild gingery flavor ($4), or the Melo Melo from Vanuatu, a sweet serum so relaxing it could get a grizzly bear to hibernate in a crowded hotel lobby ($3.50). Pair a stress-subduer with a Hawaiian nosh such as the Pele sandwich with pan roasted turkey, Tillamook cheddar, and avocado surfing atop a ciabatta bun ($7). Or, sample the Chocolate Haupia pie, which couples sacchariferous dark chocolate and coconut custard with a nutty, macadamia-shortbread crust ($5).
Built in the Italian Rococo Revival style by Chicago firm Rapp and Rapp in the late 1920s, The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is impossible to miss. Its brilliant “Portland” marquee towers 65 feet in the air. The building’s interior stats are similarly impressive: it takes 2,776 humans or 1,928 gorillas to fill the resplendent concert hall.
The family-friendly Cure Kids Jam and Festival teams American Idol finalists with up-and-coming West Coast musicians to raise money for children's charities such as the Cure JM Foundation, United Way, and Ronald McDonald House. American Idol's Blake Lewis and Kimberley Locke headline this year's event, sharing songs from their newest albums and slides of their oldest, most embarrassing baby photos. Instead of sending puppies to potential fans, Lewis has beatboxed his way into their hearts after wowing the season six Idol judges with his rhythmic renditions of Seal's "Crazy" and Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity." Locke has topped the dance charts four times since appearing on season three of the show, landing on Billboard's Top 50 Dance Songs of the Decade list with a rousing rendition of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold."
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.