Each bacon-bedecked Cowboy burger (a $9 value, $7 value during happy hours) ensnares renegade herds of cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, and chipotle sauce in the crispy loop of an onion-ring lasso. Saddle the western fare with your choice of a side of fries, salad, or tempura green beans at Candy’s chic eatery—its plush seating and regal curtains sweetened with caramel and scarlet-apple accents. Pint-size patrons (welcome until 10 p.m.) can tumble through cyber space's digital jungle gym via the booths' touch-screen computers with Internet access. After 10 p.m. on weekends, late-night imbibers 26 and up surge the dance floor, abandoning half-consumed cocktails and expired absentee ballots on glossy wooden tables. On Wednesdays, karaoke and live acoustic stylings fill the air with floating quarter notes.
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.
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).