There aren't a whole lot of bars that keep me up in Northwest Portland after work. Even drinks with coworkers tend to drift eastward. I took it as good news, then, when I saw that Sepal Meacham—a long-time veteran of the Clinton Street Pub—was opening up a place in the Slabtown neighborhood. A cement-block building that used to house—and still retains the sign for—Paymaster Checkwriters, Ball's the Cat's Moonshine Kitchen & Lounge is a casual neighborhood bar that should be greeted with open arms.
The interior is simple (a few booths, a pinball machine, and a couple dozen clay moonshine jugs on display) but comfortable, and outside a few picnic tables line the sidewalk.
Though I'll be more likely to skew toward a beer and a shot, the bartenders are more than capable of mixing a good cocktail (most of which fall in the $5 to $6 range!). I tried the Marshall Street, which is essentially a Tom Collins with basil, shaken and served up. A touch sweet for my taste, but I'd drink it again.
I'm told that tamales will be soon be a pillar of the menu, but for now burgers and chili are central. Burgers start at $5 (cheese, bacon, and avocado will set you back a couple more), but for $6.50 they'll load it up with a spicy beef chili. Gourmet? No. But Moonshine's the kind of place that could tempt me to linger in the area. TONY PEREZ
Happy Hour Info: Mon-Fri 4-6 pm 50 cents off drafts. Nightly Service Industry specials Midnight-2:30 am 50 cents off drafts, 50 cents off well drinks.
- by Marjorie Skinner
Jul 5, 2011