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.
A cavalcade of strings and horns sings out season’s greetings as eight-piece ensemble The Trail Band weaves an elaborate blanket of sound to protect audiences from the winter chill nipping at the Aladdin Theater’s doors. Formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, the band cut its teeth on traditional folktunes and Native American melodies before expanding its range to encompass other historical genres unique to America’s Northwest. Old-Fashioned Christmas continues the group's old-timey tradition, commemorating Santa’s 1843 crash landing on Mount Hood with holiday tunes that evoke the parlor orchestras and brass bands of yesteryear. Parents and children clap along as the band stuffs ear stockings with rich vocal harmonies, humorous asides, and the antique timbre of hammer dulcimers, pennywhistles, fiddles, and acoustic synthesizers.
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.
Nationally renowned tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum's silky-smooth, gospel-soaked jazz nuzzles ears in a Valentine’s Day concert. At a release show for his new album, Romance Language, Whalum commemorates the passionate holiday with saxwork that sends amorous euphonies floating over the audience and foam-tipped darts toward insufficiently lovey-dovey couples. Whalum's decades-long career has taken him to sessions with top singers—including an appearance on Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"—and collected him 11 Grammy nominations and one win. The Hilton’s full bar loosens toe-tapping muscles and lubricates tongues left dry from absentmindedly snacking on handfuls of programs, and guests can upgrade to dinner and hotel-stay packages by registering in advance.