Emmy and I both work at the same company that shall remain unnamed for now, and forever. One thing that keeps us going throughout our days at this often godless, succubus of an establishment, is the shared interest in a mandatory post-Monday happy hour. Our company handbook states you can have a maximum two drinks at lunch, which is great, except for the part where you have to come back to work after those drinks. So, I suggested that we go to The Pope House, because I had been there once before and wanted to go back. (Side note: This place is called the “bourbon lounge”, which, coincidentally, is also the unofficial name of Emmy’s bedroom.) What follows are my thoughts on last night’s venue: The Pope House Bourbon Lounge.
:: The Feels ::
When I walked up to this porch on a cool, damp October night in NW Portland:
I really couldn’t be more excited to go inside and get my drink on. How adorable, right? I love how so many of the shops, restaurants and bars in NW are in these amazing Victorian homes. There is so much character outside and inside this place, I sort of felt like moving my mattress into the dining room. (Note to self: Ask about in-dining mattress policy.)
When you go inside, beware: It’s really dark; by that I mean great lighting for evening makeup, and poor lighting for successfully navigating around other patrons’ tables, without sending an Old Fashioned flying into some guy’s lap (this type of thing happens at a completely separate type of dimly-lit establishment…) Here’s what the inside looks like:
There were a couple of partially sectioned-off rooms surrounding this pretty bar, and from what I hear, there’s also a downstairs area called “The Downs”, open on Fridays and Saturdays only. Emmy and I decided to grab a window seat on the main level so we could do some people watching, since The Pope House happens to be in one of the busier areas of NW Portland.
This is definitely a late-20’s and older kind of spot. I didn’t see any newly-legal happy hour crashers (we all know and avoid them), and most of the people there were just having quiet conversation. The bar had a rousing Sportsball game playing on TV, along with a few guys nursing their beers and chatting up the bartender. This place had definitely created their own playlist, with a southern jazz and blues theme, which was a refreshing change from the Country station I listen to every day at work (not by choice). All-in-all, it had a laid-back, old school kind of feel that was exactly what we needed after the Monday we had.
:: The Yumms ::
The Pope House Bourbon Lounge boasts an extensive whiskey, scotch and bourbon list, as implied by the name. I’m sure they are amazing, although I’m not brave enough to drink any of it “straight up”. I feel like once I’ve traveled a bit and experienced some of the things Adele sings about, I’ll be able to order my drinks “neat”, “on the rocks” and the like; until then I’ll take my tea, grapefruit juice and sour mix with a side of alcohol, thank you very much.
It’s pretty fantastic that their specialty cocktails are only $5 during happy hour, and even more fantastic that they call the non-happy hour time slot the “sad hours”, which still only bump the price up to $7 per cocktail.
The food was delicious, cheap and original. I had the Frito pie (chili on Fritos, topped with cheese, jalapenos, sour cream and scallions), while Emmy tried out the Happy Jamba, a smaller portion of Pope House’s famous jambalaya. Although I wouldn’t consider these dishes to be traditionally fancy in any way, they definitely made up for the simplicity of the dishes with presentation. My Frito pie was served in a mini cast iron skillet (I must get a few- I have visions of scalloped potatoes dancing in my head), and Emmy’s jambalaya in a cute little ramekin. Unfortunately, the food was so delicious, we were halfway through our dishes before we realized we hadn’t taken the obligatory pre-meal IG photo, so you’ll just have to imagine it in your heads. We did, however, take pictures of our dessert…desserts.
I don’t want to be cliche, but when I took my first bite of these apple beignets, I had an out-of-body experience and all of the sudden I was transported into an alternate universe. It was much like the alternate universe that Mr. Scrooge visits in A Christmas Carol with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Yes, I saw the life I would have led had I not tasted these beignets, and let me tell you, it was no life I wanted for myself. As for the cherry ice cream: Fresh, tasty, and a nice complement to the warm, doughy beignets.
Using the classic 1-5 scale, 5 being the best…
Ambiance: 4 (Why not 5? The furniture and decor feel a little cold, although I know that goes with their theme. Cool lighting makes up for that.)
We have already decided that The Pope House Bourbon Lounge will be added to the rotation, permanently. Plus, this staircase is obviously the perfect new fall #ootd photo shoot spot. (One more note to self: Drink after taking photos…)