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).
Sizzling steak and acoustic guitars battle for attention on Saturday nights at Gaucho's Argentine Cuisine. Argentinian chef Hans's menu is highlighted by traditional dishes, such as empanadas and grilled hanger steak, as well as contemporary cuisine that includes a mushroom Alfredo ravioli. Gaucho's features a full kids menu for children and anyone with a second, slightly smaller stomach.
It's a timeless scene: a man in a suit masterfully navigates the ivory keys of a Mason & Hamlin grand piano on a small stage, its Plexiglas lid illuminating the hammers as they delicately pad along the strings. On stools gathered around the instrument, a couple dines on braised filet mignon, and a bit farther back in the softly lit, intimate venue, a waiter carries a tray of gourmet cocktails. Every night, Ivories Jazz Lounge & Restaurant sets the stage for world-class jazz players and the culinary stylings of chef and occasional ice sculptor Art Trafton. The menu is loaded with supper-club classics such as beef au poivre, mixed grille, and a diverse selection of pastas. The bar stirs up similarly comforting signature drinks, among them the alpine with peppermint schnapps, whipped cream, and hot cocoa. Around dusk, ensembles that often include founder and master pianist Jim Templeton take to the stage with a blend of improvisation and standards. Nightly events range from jazz collectives to blues players, and occasionally depart from the jazz-club template to feature standup, poetry, and workshops on topics ranging from music to jazz-style stage-diving etiquette.
Before it mutated into a weaponized haze of reality shows, MTV aired a novelty known as the music video. These bite-sized works of art, which married pop songs to striking imagery, revolutionized the entertainment industry and ushered in an era of music known as “new wave.” For the task of curating and introducing these fresh sounds and flamboyant sights to audiences, MTV even created its own version of the disc jockey—the VJ.
Though MTV has sent its stable of video jockeys out to pasture, VJ Kittyrox carries the pastel, shoulder-padded torch of Adam Curry and Nina Blackwood as she masterminds the 80s Video Dance Attack. For the last seven years, this popular shindig has united generations of Portlandians with its five-hour feast of '80s-centric sensation. Across 10-foot screens, VJ Kittyrox projects classic videos from artists such as Duran Duran and Michael Jackson as audiences of Breakfast Clubbers and Pretty in Pinkers perfect their cabbage patch, running man, and Pat Benatar shimmies. A bombastic, thumping sound system and a dazzling light show accentuate the time warp as audiences deck themselves in '80s garb and shake away memories of unsolved rubik’s cubes.