Saturday, May 07, 2011

Vintage Cocktail Lounge

7907 SE Stark
Happy Hour: 5 - 7 PM and 11 - close

The Montavilla Neighborhood is one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods in all of Portland. This is, partly, due to the fact that I live blocks from the epicenter. Credit is also due to the fact that this neighborhood has everything (bars, restaurants, a second-run movie theater, a farmer's market, and THE best coffee shop ever) but you can still easily find a parking spot and a place to sit.

The main business strip has been growing for the past few years. A few places have come and gone, but mostly it's growing. Vintage Cocktail Lounge is one of the newer bars on the block. There was a a wine bar in it's place not too long ago, but it didn't last nearly as long as I had hoped. This was my third stop at Vintage since they opened but my first time getting there in time for happy hour.

The place was fairly packed when we first walked in and so we quickly took a seat at the bar. Maybe it was just that night, but I kind of think that this place might have quickly become the "go to" for ladies night out. And all the ladies were drinking martinis. Okay, a few had wine...but this place is known for its martinis, so it would only make sense.

One of the standout martinis on the Vintage menu is the lavender cocktail. If only the description didn't remind me of those little white candies I ate so many of during junior high and high school. I opted for a vodka gimlet and I'm glad I did. It was good and all, yes, but it was the value that made it worth the order. You see, they have a gin gimlet (with fresh lime and some agave nectar) listed on the menu for nine bucks (with an extra dollar off during happy hour) and MY order--which was basically the same drink--was just six dollars. Sometimes ordering something that's not listed on the menu is a better deal.

Value is something that is super important to me. And spending nine dollars on a drink isn't something that I usually do. Especially when I can very easily see that these martinis are served in small glasses. There are a lot of great flavors and a lot of attention paid to the presentation (my boyfriend's drink had a piece of burnt orange peel in it...and the bartender lit it on fire right there in front of us) but the prices are still a bit steep, in my opinion. (And the prices on the website are not all the same as what you'll see in the place today. They are in need of an update, big time.)

One thing that did seem worth the price was the happy hour food special. They have four different pizzetas available during happy hour for just five dollars each. We ordered two, one with olives and one with sun-dried tomatoes. They weren't quite enough to make a meal (and were nothing compared to the pizza available across the street at Flying Pie Pizzeria) but they had good flavor.

I feel like this place has a lot to offer. I also feel that they might be trying a little too hard...but not in all areas of the business. So much effort has gone into the cocktail menu and into the presentation of each drink...but the service is slow, you have to order at the bar (despite the classy appearance) and the decor didn't change much from when it was the wine bar. It's a great spot in the neighborhood and I can see myself stopping by for a drink or two...but moving on to another place before the night's over (and before I've spent too much).

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Nearly Meets
Ambiance: Nearly Meets
Value: Nearly Meets


Vintage Cocktail Lounge

Vintage Cocktail Lounge