Friday, March 25, 2011

Another look at Sidecar 11

3955 North Mississippi Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 6 PM (closed Tuesdays)

This is one of those places that you have to know about before going in. It's a good size once you're inside, but it's WAY TOO easy to walk by (even if you are in search of a good place for dinner and/or drinks). Even knowing the address might not be from now on, when people ask, I will refer to it as the bar to the left of Gravy. There's another bar (with similar issues) to the right of Gravy. They are both good, but this one might be better. In fact, I know it is.

We stopped in for happy hour soon after they opened. (The entire establishment has only been open for a couple of weeks.) It was quiet when we got there, but picked up quickly. I have a feeling that it's going to fill up and be constantly packed before too long (assuming, of course, that people can find it). It's a perfect little neighborhood place and worth the drive (and the trouble of parking on Mississippi) for those who aren't so fortunate to live in the neighborhood, too.

There were two men working behind the bar. From what I can tell, one is the official owner but they both take quite a bit of responsibility for the place. They seemed more than knowledgeable about the drinks they were serving and the food that was offered.

I had a hard time selecting a drink from the cocktail menu. They've got a lot to choose from, which always makes it a challenge for me. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong. They also have a fairly good wine list (including Cabernet Sauvignon from Waterbrook, one of my favorite Walla Walla wineries--only because I always stop there on the way to visit my parents). And my boyfriend (who joined us during happy hour and was the one to tell me about this new place) enjoyed their selection of whiskey. I ended up getting the Gin Gin Mule. It was a good mix of gin, pureed ginger, lime, mint and some sugar. It was very refreshing and a good "go to" for this place (when I'm not in the mood for a glass of red wine).

We ordered what turned out to be too much food for the table. Appetizers are half off during happy hour, making them well worth the price. To share, we ordered the cheese plate and the nachos. They were both HUGE. The cheese plate had three different cheeses (my favorite being the chevre), apple and pear slices, roasted garlic cloves (yum!) and slices of a rustic bread (probably from down the street at Grand Central Bakery). The nachos were piled high and covered with all of the traditional goods.

I also ordered a salad even though it was not included in the discount. For just $5.50, it seemed worth the price. And it came with a small piece of the cheese bread that IS available on the happy hour menu and topped with a substantial amount of cheddar and plenty of roasted garlic. The salad was simple but came with the perfect amount of blue cheese vinaigrette. The black beans sprinkled on top were a great source of protein but didn't quite match the flavors (they went better on the nachos) and added a bit of a challenge when trying to get everything to balance on the fork.

All of the food was good. The prices were great. And the location (being just about three blocks from my boyfriend's house) was perfect. I know I'll be back. In fact, there's a pretty good chance that I'll be back before the weekend's over.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds (for food), Meets (for drinks)


Sidecar 11


  1. Went there the other day for Happy Hour based on the recommendation on this blog. What a nice little gem and what a great addition to the neighborhood.

    We also ordered the cheese plate and the nachos and it turned out to be too much food for the two of us (we weren't too hungry). Great value for money. The service was excellent, no complains whatsoever.

    The only thing I would wish for is a few more options on beer. I know, the place is mostly about the cocktails and there are hundreds of places to get beer in PDX, but a few more taps (they have two at this point) would be nice.

  2. Visiting from San Diego and took a food tour of this neighborhood. Sidecar 11 was our first stop. Incredible, delicious, delightful. Wish we had something like this in SoCal.