For the third month in a row, we visited a bar we had never been to before. This was, of course, the luck of the draw as we make our way through a dozen locations this year. Pacific Standard is just over the river on Portland’s East side on the main floor of the KEX Hotel. It’s also home to Oregon’s own Jeffrey Morgenthaler, celebrated for his recipes and techniques made famous online, in books and of course, from Clyde Common and Pépé le Moko.
Pacific Standard describes itself as a living room to the city and a destination for travelers and locals. It has a comfortable vibe featuring a large, walk around central bar with plenty of seating, and an expansive back area with dining tables and high top seats decorated with impressive architectural antiques and floor to ceiling bookshelves. The floors themselves are a tightly woven herringbone of solid wood, beaten and beautiful with the aged patina of an old tavern or medieval gathering hall. Yet the place is by no means old-looking with its modern zinc bartop and built-in bronze and glass deco-shaded lamps.
The drink selection is diverse, with over a dozen wines on draft, specialty cocktails, and several low and no-alcohol choices from a pictographic menu that even features a pair of what they refer to as “good” coffee cocktails. We started with a Rosé Negroni and the 68 Olympic. The Negroni is described on the menu as having gin, bianco bitter, rosé vermouth, and sea salt. As good as it was, the 68 Olympic was even better: tequila, mezcal, grapefruit, agave and cinnamon over pebble ice. This drink has a strong resemblance to the Mexican Circus Tiger but is probably easier to execute.
We ended up having a second 68 Olympic before heading out for some dinner elsewhere but we were happy to have made the visit. We will return in a few months to the Sunset Room upstairs when it reopens this summer for some fantastic outdoor rooftop imbibing!