Seeking a home for her one-of-a-kind mixed drinks—including lollipop-rimmed martinis—nationally recognized mixologist Lucy opened Mint restaurant in the spring of 2001. Her acclaimed cocktails’ popularity grew so quickly that in 2003, she opened an adjacent lounge where patrons could focus on drinks such as avocado daiquiris and jalapeño-and-pineapple margaritas. Along with its selection of 40 signature cocktails, the bistro has been luring patrons in with chef Brian McElmeel’s Pan-American-style dishes, which are composed predominantly of local and organic ingredients and influences from the Pacific Northwest, Mediterranean, and Latin America.
Four nights a week, the notes from live local jazz artists resonate off the high copper ceilings and bronze chandeliers of Wilfs Restaurant & Bar, which has served upscale cuisine within Portland's restored Union Station building since 1975. Head chef Deb Serkoian complements the serenade by crafting seasonal dishes with organic ingredients culled from local and regional farmers, including fresh seafood and meat from sources such as Double 'R' Ranch, Draper Valley, and Carlton Farms. At the bar, mixologists pour classic cocktails and new signature concoctions inspired by the seasons, recalling the annual beauty of a violet bud as it blooms into a glass of cabernet.
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.
Sam Malone isn’t the bartender here, but Scandals has still amassed a Cheers-style crew of regulars since it opened in 1979. The bar also honors Sam’s sports background by showing Ducks, Blazers, and Timbers games on the projection screen. Other activities: Monday trivia, Tuesday karaoke, and a Sunday bloody-mary bar.
Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, a 104-year-old Portland landmark handed down from fish-loving father to sea-faring son for five generations, boasts extensive menus of locally sourced seafood, a full bar, and an inviting, authentic atmosphere adorned with historical artifacts. Ancient ship wheels, old-timey nautical articles, fading photos, and sexy fishing photos from Davy Jones's high school locker surround diners as they munch on myriad undersea selections.
Backspace is Portland's nexus of music, art, community, and food. To ensure your eyes are open wide enough to read the entire menu of organic fare, order a Stumptown Coffee libation right away. A single ($1.75) or double ($2.25) espresso packs a sufficiently perky punch. Chase it with a buildable quesadilla, which pairs Jack cheese with your choice of fillings such as black beans, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, or peppers ($6), or a ready-built vegan hummus plate ($6.50). All salads––including the broccoli goddess ($5 for small/$6.50 for large) and the kalamata-olive-dotted Caesar ($4.50 for small/$6 for large)––are vegan. For a hand-held helping of fresh greenery, order a turkey avocado wrap, which is stuffed with soy turkey, red peppers, onions, and tomatoes ($7). An all-local beer selection is available for coffee-averse non-insomniacs.