Explorations in Mixology Cocktails Drinking

Portland Bar Review: Multnomah Whiskey Library

MWLDespite the unusual seating process, Multnomah Whiskey Library remains one of the most interesting, if not the most striking places in Portland, Oregon to sip spirits. It has a rustic elegance with a “basement library” vibe. If you are not at the bar, you are cosily seated at one of several arranged leather lounge chairs or around the long, green banker’s lamp lit library tables. Instead of books, the stacks are filled with bottles. You’ll need the gigantic Captain’s Manual to search the entire inventory, but thankfully, MWL provides a list of suggestions in the form of a changing abridged list of spirits and a delightfully short cocktail menu.

They bring the bar to you at MWL where a bartender quite literally wheels a mobile drink station right to your chairs and mixes your selection before your eyes. It’s a nice touch for an overall experience that can be difficult for some folks to justify. You really have to love the cocktail and conversation in an exclusive club atmosphere where members receive priority seating with the benefit of reservations, while walk-ins must wait for an opening. We’ve never had to wait too long for small groups, but you do want an exact count and everyone present when seated. If your idea of drinks includes sports screens and tap beers, go somewhere else. But if you always wanted to taste something obscure or difficult to find—or if you just love the old-school private club vibe, MWL is pretty hard to beat.

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