The journey toward founding Velo Cult wasn't easy, but according to owner and bike enthusiast Sky, it was worth the effort. With a name taken from the French word for "bike" and an abbreviation of the word culture, Velo Cult certainly lives up to its intent: the multi-use space is at once a bike shop, bar, cafe, and special events venue. A dozen taps dispense a weekly-changing roster of local and regional craft brews, which are served alongside more than 40 brews in cans and bottles. At the coffee bar, baristas prepare blends from four different roasters in the pour-over style.
This attention to detail and multi-use focus aren't Velo Cult's only unique attributes: the design reflects a quirky sensibility as well. The bar contains a communal table crafted from an old bowling lane, while the showroom features a folding stage made from a re-purposed 80 year-old wooden drawbridge. This platform is lowered several nights a week for live music, except during sieges. In the same space, a 100-inch projection screen showcases films and documentaries throughout the year. Velo Cult also contains its own museum, which features complete bikes from Sky's personal collection.
The chefs at Branch make everything from scratch?including butchering their own steak, curing their own bacon, and smoking their own poultry?to put their distinctive stamp on traditional dishes. Classic comfort foods take on inventive transformations to result in such unusual plates as Maine lobster dumplings and macaroni 'n' cheese gratin with Oregon black-truffle oil. On their side of the establishment, the bartenders take the same artisanal approach by infusing their bourbon with fresh local fruit and concocting their own whiskey liqueurs. The full bar features an extensive whiskey list with more than 150 whiskeys from around the world available in single glasses or tasting flights.
The last Sunday of every month, stop by Crush with your art supplies—it’s time for the bar’s sexy figure-drawing class. Fortify yourself with a house cocktail, a blend of funky ingredients like prickly-pear purée and house-infused lavender vodka. Other nights, stop by for a drag show or a sing-along choir show.
Gather Food & Drink boasts the bounty of the seasons with dishes that incorporate fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Eyeball the northwest-inspired seasonal menu items specifically engineered to cool down tepid summer tongues. Lunchmongers can begin with the basil-infused tomato bisque ($4 for a cup, $6 for a bowl), and those with a penchant for pork can bury their incisors into the porter barbecue-pulled-pork sandwich topped with Mt. Townsend jack cheese ($11). Dinner diners can sink a line into the seared halibut served with a potato cake and a hearty lobster-and-shellfish bouillabaisse ($21), and communal eaters can opt for several shareable small plates, which can also be prepared as larger, entree-sized portions. Dabble in the smoked-bacon-enveloped dates served with blue cheese au gratin ($12 for a small plate, $22 for a large plate) or the grilled asparagus injected with truffle oil to ward off ol' timey bouts of chlorophyll lip ($9 for a small plate, $16 for a large plate).