When Jeremy Brown's wife was expecting her second child, the couple realized their small house wasn't going to fit a family of four. Upon moving to a 5-acre fixer upper outside Battle Ground, the pair raised their kids as Jeremy nurtured another project: using those acres to create his own winery.
Since starting with his quaint, Tuscan-inspired tasting room, Jeremy has expanded his grounds to include several large patios and a wood-fired oven in the kitchen, where chefs prepare pizzas and small plates. Live musicians grace Rusty Grape Vineyard's stage Wednesday–Saturday, adding soothing tunes that complement the tasting room's draft beers and rotating selection of wine by the glass and bottle. Available pours might include a 2011 riesling or a complex red wine whose hints of cranberry give way to an oatmeal-cookie finish.
For rookie puffers, the hookah is a glass water pipe originally from India that is popular for smoking syrup-soaked tobacco. Filtering the smoke through cool water results in a smooth, mellow experience that is on par with the Sultan Hookah Lounge's relaxed atmosphere. While sipping the house Turkish coffee with friends, enjoy more than 100 different flavors of tobacco, including double apple, orange crush, mango, strawberry daiquiri, vanilla, honeydew melon, lemon, mint, rose, apricot, and cappuccino. Tobaccos can be mixed to create custom candy-flavored goodness, such as orange crush daiquiri, vanilla cappuccino, or immortality-bestowing ambrosial nectar. Sultan's also offers outdoor seating for mixing the flavors of hookah with the scent of the open air.
Recently lauded by the Portland Mercury, Record Room invites the vinyl-obsessed and tape-enthused to lounge in its store and peruse the eclectic selection of new and used records and cassettes. Music-lovers can be paired with their favorite efficient producers of eight notes, such as Super Wild Horses, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Mars, Nathaniel Merriweather, and more. Prices range from $1 for used vinyl to $50 for special collectible records, with most records falling into the $10–$20 range, unless they’re signed by all four members of Jimmy Carter’s famed prog-Viking-metal band. Melody mavens can take spins at different listening stations and email poetic music reviews via Record Room's free WiFi.
The chefs at Branch Whiskey Bar 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, tasting flights, or directly from Sam Elliot’s mustache.
There are plenty of windows throughout Rae’s Lakeview Lounge, but not a single one has views of the lake. That’s because there is no lake. Not anymore, anyway. The shoreline of Guild’s Lake used to run down below where Rae’s stands today, but the flood-prone area was filled in after the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. Though it’s a bit of a misnomer, the lounge's name aligns with Rae’s goal for the business; though it’s newer, it can make guests feel as though it’s been there their whole lives, much like the doll you woke up to staring at you this morning.
The lounge certainly feels like it has an old soul. Inside the rehabbed 1946 building, there are vintage photos on the walls (including one of Guild’s Lake, of course) that evoke a bygone Portland. At the dark bar top, pendant lights glint off an impressive lineup of liquors; sip on a Rae's manhattan or a blackberry cosmo. The food menu has many classic, homestyle dishes— including house-recipe meatloaf and potpie du jour—but it also integrates some finer dining selections such as Dungeness crab cakes and pork tenderloin. Many entrees pair well with the wines, which includes local barrel wines on tap as well as internationals available by the bottle, half-carafe, or glass.